A lamplight of approval blushed up her cheeks, bringing out the radiance she had only imagined in the shower, as the stinging hot droplets of water pinged off her oily skin. Eliza, the letters told her, you are going places. Eliza, the phone calls told her, you are successful. Eliza, Eliza, Eliza: you are beloved.
She believed it, but she didn’t feel it. Her hands and her voice changed gradually with the confidence allowed by such an assumption of power and will. It took some practice to flick the switch that released synapses allowing behaviors she hadn’t known were in her. She ket the electric currents flow through her, unabashed, doing what electrons are supposed to do, magnetically surrounding her with an appeal that called out to others. I am desired, her eyes signaled.
Her hands and her voice became smooth, the callouses chipping away one layer of skin at a time as her confidence grew and the need for such constant participation in her craft waned. The buzz around her rose in tone and deepened in pitch and became a hum, a melody of impossibility. Eliza flourished.
She still didn’t feel it. It happened to her, around her, an envelope marked with a resounding YES. Still she stood in the eye of the storm that was her durable success. She was a pillar of crumbling salt, and she was certain that sooner or later, the chips would be noticed and people would realize she was not the sugared candy they thought she was.