Be Fleet of Foot

Elsa was whipskinny by the time she got out of high school, long-legged and swift, not so much because that was the body she’d been given but because she had to be that way, faster than everyone else, first out the door, stretched farther across the fields, more able to slide sideways between parked cars at speed. The rare times when she settled someplace far away from every jaw snapping at her heels she thought maybe she was born to be fat – there was promise there in the mirror, a hopefulness of weight.

When she stopped, her breath always came thundering-healthy from the last, deepest places of her body, sweet with burning, fraught like the mirror with the memory of fat. She held her mouth around it, bounding and quick only when she was otherwise slow and stilled.

Elsa could have run through town with her eyes closed. The streets lived in her legs the same way other people had bedframes. She didn’t mind the running, or the ridge of her bones pushing against her skin; the song of the wolves back on the scent of her trail was reward enough, weird, lonely, and adolescent though it was. Wolves, she knew, were shy of a life that didn’t move.