I kept the magazines under my stereo where Mum couldn’t find them, in a folder labelled homework.
Gus, my step-brother, gave them to me when he left for the army. I liked all the ladies in them. I liked their soft pink skin. I liked them letting me look.
But I never read the words, because the words were lies.
The one I loved most was Amy. She smiled all the time. The others just made sex faces.
I wrote to Amy, because I figured she’d like to know how pretty someone thought she was.
I found an address on the back of the magazine.
The day after I sent the letter Gus called. ‘Have you still got those magazines?’
‘Maybe you don’t need them,’ he said. ‘Maybe you should be meeting real girls instead.’ He must have been talking to Mum.
So I told him about my letter to Amy.
‘Are you insane,’ he said. ‘Those magazines are twenty years old. Those women are as old as Mum.’
After that I kept thinking of Amy when I saw old ladies. Like my science teacher, Ms Gunston. She had the same colour eyes. The same colour hair. She was always smiling.
I stopped looking at the magazines so much after that.
2011-Richard Holt / small stories about love (smallstoriesaboutlove.wordpress.com)