Pink Elephant

by Jazmin George//

“Stand up straight, Jazz! You can’t be a princess and watch over your royal subjects slouching!”

It was her way of telling me that my height was a valuable trait only found in royalty. This encouragement was great until I told an Ikea employee that he had to let me into the bouncy ball playground on account of me being a princess and him being my servant. After that, my mom kept the uplifting to a minimum.

“Everyone get in line from shortest to tallest. Be careful not to mess up your clothing! You don’t want to have funky clothes on Picture Day,” my teacher says as everyone rushes to get in line. I make my way to the back of the line triumphantly.

“Wow, you’re so tall! I wish I were your height!” I hear from a few classmates, and I smile out of genuine happiness. No one gets to be this tall if they’re not royalty.

That was back when being the tallest was cool.

It’s safe to say that by high school, being tall was out of fashion. My mom foresaw this moment coming when she made me official princess of the entire world.

“Hey girl, what are you writing down?” I lean over and ask a fellow classmate in 9th grade Physics.

“Funny that you ask! I’m making a list of people in our grade and assigning them animals that I think they match.”

“Did you do mine yet?”

“Yup! Yours is ‘pink elephant.’”

“Pink elephant?”

“Yeah! You know that saying, ‘there’s an elephant in the room’? I think you embody that pretty well. You’re so straightforward and say what people don’t wanna address.”

So she isn’t saying this because I’m fat or because I’m 6’2”? “But why pink?” I ask. Pink as in feminine? Or pink as in loud and noticeable?

“Eh, you know. Hypervisibility.”

Oh, so it is because I’m fat. And tall. Well, at least partially.

2014 pre-graduation
“Hey Perry! What are you up to right now?” I ask, already beginning to scoop down next to him on the hallway floor.

“Hey! This is my lunch period. So I’m just gonna hang out here for a bit.”

“Cool, I’ll sit with you. Anything new going on in your life? Any love updates?” Perry’s 6’6” and gay. I’ve never seen him romantically with someone at school before. I wonder whether his height or his sexuality has been more marginalizing in his search for romance… He’s attractive, but I just don’t know any other classmates who are openly gay in our grade. It’s the lower east side though, so he might have some luck outside of school. Oddly enough, I find some comfort in knowing that we may share mutual difficulty in finding people who are interested in us because of how tall we are. He always looked slightly uncomfortable in his own skin.

Casually ruffling through a bag of multigrain chips he says, “Nah, not really. I had this thing with a guy for a bit but we just broke it off. What about you?”


“Yeah, you.”

Oh, boy, I think. “Guys don’t pay me any mind! I haven’t even kissed anyone before.”

“Yeah, but you have a sex drive too right? You can still find others attractive.”

I start shrinking in my place on the floor. “Yeah I guess you’ve got a point there.” I look around to see who’s hearing this convo and then down at my crossed legs.

“And you’re just as deserving of love.”

Ugh, where is this going? This just got even more embarrassing. I’m invisible. “Well, I don’t know about all that. I mean, yes. I think you’re right, but it hasn’t changed the fact that no one’s ever liked me before. I can be real with myself for a hot second and admit that being this tall and, well, fat is not going to bring the boys to this yard.”

2014 post-graduation
“Girl, let’s go into Sephora, since the D train was quick. We can kill some time while we wait for your sister.”


“I want to see what new perfumes they have.”

Walking towards me and my friend is an employee. He is just about my height. “Hi, can I help you two with something?” he asks.

I look over at Giselle, annoyed that he’s stopping me from reaching our destination. “Uh, not really, thanks though.” Was he one of those anti-Black Black guys, who was going to police us around the store until I told him to hit the road?

He doesn’t move.

Still sharing a look with Giselle I reply, “Yeah, actually can you show us where the Bvlgari perfume is?”

“Yes! It’s over here.”

Once we arrive, I say, “Ok, thank you,” fully expecting him to leave.

He still doesn’t move. Why is this fool still here? Focusing on the selection in front of me I hear him say, “You look like you’re in heaven right now.”

“Yeah, perfume is my life lol.” Stop saying ‘lol’ out loud.

“Where are you guys from?”

“I’m from the Bronx, and my friend, Giselle, is from Chicago.”

“And what’s your name?”

“Jazmin. And I see that yours is Brady.”

“Yeah, nice to meet you.”

“Same.” Can he stop smiling at us? I wonder which one of us he likes. In Italy, everyone liked Giselle.

“Do you two want samples of anything while you’re here?”

“Oh my gosh! We can get perfume samples? Give me a million.”

“I can give you two.”

“I’ll take it!”

“Yo, you’re really funny.”

Yeah? Tell me something I don’t know, I say to myself. “Why thank you, good sir,” I say out loud while curtsying. “I’m going to go get the perfume over there.” When I come back, I see Brady and Giselle talking. He probably likes her. “Here you go!” I say focusing on getting free perfume.

“Alright you two. I’ll be back in a minute.”

“I have to tell you something later,” Giselle says secretly as Brady walks away.

“No! Tell me now!” I protest. He must’ve asked her out. Of course she would be the one to get a date while she was on a trip visiting a friend in a different city.

“He likes you.”

“No way.” Why am I not excited? It must be because I’m not attracted to him.

“I swear he does. He told me that he wants you to come back to the store.”

“Really? But he’s not cute. What should I do?”

“I say go for it! It’s the summer before college and you said you wanted experience. I say you hit it and quit it.”

“Hmmm, that makes sense. I won’t be so nervous to hook up with a guy I’m not attracted to. I’ll get some ‘practice’ before I leave for school.” Finally, 18 years later.

“Yes girl. Get your man.”

//Jazmin is from the Bronx and is currently a second-year English Master's student at Georgetown University, where she focuses on critical race theory, semiotics, and Black womanhood and trauma as her interests. She loves stories and the art of storytelling, which have prompted her to work on her own creative voice.