Girls With Honey-Colored Hair and Owl Eyes

by The Cowl Editor


Portfolio


A window with rain
Photo courtesy of pexels.com

by Taylor Maguire ’24

I watch as my friend Lena packs up for her semester in France. She lines up her wool sweaters and corduroy jeans in a color-coordinated fashion upon her childhood bed. It is very quiet in her room.  

“I’m going to die alone,” my best friend Dewey announces, breaking the silence. He drapes his arms along Lena’s bedroom window sill, stretching his legs along the bay window. His eyes gaze around at the passersby on Pierrepont Street.  

“Dewey, you are not going to die alone,” Lena says.  

I open the window and light a cigarette.  

“Piper was your first college girlfriend. The first girlfriend of many girlfriends that you will have. She wasn’t going to be the one that you married. Besides, I didn’t even like her and I like everyone,” I say.  

There were a lot of things I did not like about Piper. Piper was the girl with honey-colored hair and big brown owl eyes. She was skinny as a twig, and she got into all kinds of parties because everyone knew her parents were rich. She gave cold, war-like glances to those she did not like, which was half the student body at NYU, and rejoiced in the attention given by those she wanted to be. She thought Led Zeppelin was an energy drink and Sylvia Plath was on our city council. But all that aside, she was simply a narcissistic, manipulative asshole and treated Dewey as an inferior. The thing about Dewey was that he got attached to the pretty face and his made-up ideologies of those he dated, but he never fell for the actual person. His romanticized imagination was his Achilles’ heel.  

“Why do you think she did it?” he asks, looking over at me.  

“Honestly? She was bored,” I say.  

“Would you ever cheat?” he asks, taking the cigarette from my hand to smoke it himself.  

“I think cheaters are cowards. Cowards caught between the security of what they have and going after the potential that remains unknown. Do I think hooking up with a boy on the soccer team at school was worth the price of your relationship? No. But girls like Piper only want things for image sake, for the stories to tell her friends at breakfast,” I say.  

“I’ll never cheat on someone. Or be the person that another cheats on with. Being on the receiving end of it is too painful,” Dewey says.  

“What I don’t understand is why you still want her back after all that,” Lena says, stuffing things into a suitcase that was twice her size.  

“You didn’t know Piper as I did. Okay, so she didn’t read the newspaper or take the subway, and she was a little daft at times. But she would make her side of the bed in the mornings before leaving, and she’d send me website links to jackets she’d thought I would look good in. And she texted me on my birthday, and on our anniversary, ” he says. I watch as he struggles to defend what he wants to believe is true, which is that Piper cared about him the same way he still cares about her.  

Lena lets out a sigh before saying, “Dewey that’s the bare minimum.” 

The sad thing was that Lena and I have had this conversation with Dewey many times over the dwindling days of August since they broke up. Every time she’d get brought up, Dewey would try to work backwards and analyze what he did wrong, why he wasn’t good enough. He was trapped in a rabbit hole of his regrets and doubts. At the end of the day, he was just too entranced by Piper’s owl eyes to see the red flags that she carried around with her.


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