Lightbox: Justine Kurland — Bathroom (1997)

Rochelle Hurt

chromogenic print

[no men involved — you can tell because her bare breasts are not the first thing you see. it’s the cigarette, or the boots maybe. one girl on the floor and two at the mirror makes five, but none of them are looking at the glass. they use each other for that: mirror as we. when we changed in the lav before gym, most girls stayed out in the open, but I would shut myself up in a stall. I liked the stable wall of my I, in theory. no one but me inside.

gossip in the photo’s details: pink soap, glossy magazine, white tees drying on the sink. a bag of clothes spills its innards across the tile. a transitional state: they’re changing. road trip, runaways, or just softball practice. what difference when enclosed in a we? that’s a car made for speed. for blown speakers. for hotboxing and rearview beads. a car made for leaving. once the lav girls asked: do you think the world will end in the year 2000? It was 1994. I hope not, I said — that’s when I can drive. we were in the same grade, but behind the little silver latch there was only me. three years later I took my top off for a boy and his father walked in just as my nipple brushed his son’s lip. the boy was told not to see me again. I found others. it was the same instinct: wanting to be looked at and not wanting to be seen. the gaze made a you I could keep away from me. whereas the topless girl in the photo doesn’t care where you’re looking. whereas the girls are all safe there together, swaddled in yellow fluorescents. whereas you recognize the photo is a fantasy.

before I could drive, I steered my body around virginity. one-ways and unmarked alleys. when I decided to have sex, I entered my boyfriend’s house with two friends who sat like parents on the couch as I glided into his bedroom and locked the door. when he entered me, it made a we and I changed my mind immediately. when he begged to keep going, I drove my I into a wall for him. when we dressed and came out of the room, my friends were gone, so he took me home. inside the quiet Cutlass, just him and me.]

Justine Kurland — Bathroom (1997)


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