On Being Ugly by Chloe Caldwell

Amazing girlfriend, ugly lover, still not happy.

That is what you wrote. Jotted down, really. The way people write:

Eggs, milk, get computer fixed.

It was written in the top left corner of your journal that I was reading front to back even though you’d left me at your apartment in trust, while you went to work. Fuck trust. You were already cheating on your girlfriend with me.

So I was on your bed, smoking your pot even though that would have pissed you off, and eating your colored hard-boiled eggs leftover from Easter. My thighs were sore from sex; my eyes were sore from that sentence. 

I’d always thought I was your beautiful lover. Now I was nauseated. Your livid lover. Lonely. Humiliated.


I hurled your maroon journal straightforward, without thinking about it first. I hated your maroon journal; I hated your maroon sweatshirt. I hated you.

The journal knocked down the blue glass holding the single daffodil I’d picked for you.

Earlier that morning we’d both agreed the contrast of the royal blue and lush yellow was just right. We’d looked at each other, happy with out masterpiece, in love.

I wanted to take the daffodil back. Shallow people don’t deserve things like daffodils. Or royal blue glasses to hold them in.

I wanted to burn your journals and smash your bongs. Suddenly, I severely resented you for having the money to live in the East village while I had to live in Brooklyn with a broken toilet. I never told you about my frequent insufficient funds. You never told me you thought I was ugly.

I put your maroon sweatshirt on and threw the hood over my head. I walked paranoid around Alphabet City with headphones on listening to Blood on the Tracks. I seriously considered picking up dog shit in Washington Square Park and putting it in the pocket of your favorite sweatshirt. I decided against it. I decided I wanted a cigarette. I decided to keep feeling bad for myself. “We smoke cigarettes because we hate ourselves, right?” A friend once said to me. Yeah. Yeah, we do.

No one would bum me a cigarette. And this was New York City. Maybe I came off too desperate or something. Maybe I came off too ugly. I was so angry with you for making those thoughts liable. Cigarettes make you uglier, anyway.

(You must understand that this is the lover that let’s me wear a Discman while I suck his dick. This is the lover that remembers everything I say. This is the lover that grabs my tits with the perfect pressure. This is the lover that turned me on to Bukowski. This is the lover that said, “Let’s be friends and fuck forever” and had me shake on it.)

Defeated, depressed, I climbed the stairs back into your expensive and tiny apartment.

I opened the door to find that your cat with the ear infection, Moochie LaRue, had vomited on the checkered kitchen floor. I had this fantasy of smashing the colored eggs into it with my Doc Marten and creating a vomit egg salad. Then smearing it onto the keys of your typewriter and your maroon moleskin. But I cleaned it up because I loved you.

I fell asleep in your bed, sad and stoned and without you. I woke up to an afternoon rainstorm. I stole some quarters off of your dresser to get a coffee across the street. The barista gave me bad service because I am ugly.

I sat on your stairs drinking my coffee, watching the rain and listening to Blood on the Tracks. I watched the attractive East Village Fucks walk by. And I tried to look pretty during this pathetic pity party.

The next morning I left for Berlin. It was there in Berlin, while I was staring out the window after sleeping and dreaming of your voice, when I realized:

I was so angry that you thought I was ugly, that I forgot to concern myself, with you not being happy.

And I wondered how you were doing. And if you’d decided to go on the meds or not.

Published by peace is illegal

I am a writer of pornography, of politics and murder.

11 thoughts on “On Being Ugly by Chloe Caldwell

  1. i really feel the ache of this. the crushing humility. the uselessness sometimes of unrequited feelings. a scrunched up piece of love abandoned and blown down empty streets with the trash.

  2. It hurt to read this, but it felt good, too. Maybe that makes me ugly inside – but oh my God, I loved this. “Ugly lover” but gorgeous writer.

  3. Wow! This is really intense. Its so real. I loved it. It made me want more, more, more, but yet I was satisfied with leaving it at that.

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