The Wonderment

It all began when Ellie Masterson stepped out of her dorm room bare beam and buck naked at 5:12PM on a Thursday evening.

Perhaps part of it was that she had simply stepped. She didn't streak up and down the hall, wailing and flinging her arms every which way. She merely stepped out of her room and stood, one hand holding the door open, and peered about with a mildly curious expression. Her eyes flitted past the boys paying poker at the lounge table--all of them had stopped playing, and the youngest had dropped his cards--over the neighbors' doors, and finally paused on a colorful poster advertisting a local comedian for a moment. Then she turned and went back in to her room, shutting the door behind her with a faint "click."

The whole affair lasted less than 10 seconds. Multiply that time frame by 100 and you have a rough estimate of how long it took the entire campus to know that some girl named Evie or Ellen or Whatever Masterson had paraded her nude body in front of her entire floor section.

People wondered. "Who IS Ellie Masterson?" Was it true that her mother was a gorgeous ex-model who was so ashamed of her daughter's plain appearance that she locked her up in the attic, forcing her to pee in a Coke bottle and be in bed by 9, molding Ellie in to a crazed nudist? And how long did her father, a decorated war hero who was now an active member of the Peace Corps, spend lost in the deserts of China? These questions boggled the minds of every student except one, a black-haired physics major named Ellie Masterson.

The one thing that truly perplexed the boys, however, was Ellie Masterson's vulva. It was rather ordinary, a mass of pink-and-olive skin and tissue seemingly lacking pubic hair. But in less than a week, many of these nubile young men were consumed by a burning desire to see it again. When Ellie Masterson walked by, all eyes turned to her crotch. She kept her head up and her shoulders straight, that same mildly curious look on her face, her pace calm and steady: oblivious.

Finally, a boy named Nick O'Grady took it upon himself to get a closer look. He was an Irish fraternity member with curly hair and an equally curvy grin; what he lacked in physical beauty he more than made up for in charm, and he was notoriously popular with the ladies (especially the sisters in the Sigma house, who found his confident swagger unbelievably sexy).

It came as quite a shock, then, when the student population found out Nick had abandoned the chase after 2 short days. He had, in fact, visited Ellie at her dorm room and made small talk, which involved him flirting and her answering with short, polite responses whenever it was required. When he'd commented on her infamous "shaved bush," however, Ellie Masterson had merely cocked her head, that same old expression plastered on her face, and explained that she didn't shave, she just trimmed very closely with a pair of sewing scissors. She excused herself to go to class several moments later, and Nick O'Grady stoody in the middle of the hallway watching her hair swing as she left, a look of overwhelming befuddlement on his face.

Boys asked their loves to crop their pubic hair. Girls hid their scissors in their underwear drawers and shoe boxes.

On the following Tuesday, Mr. and Mrs. Masterson decided to visit their only daughter and spend the day as a happy threesome. Ellie's colleagues awaited their arrival with something akin to Christmas morning eagerness, but were severely disappointed when a stocky man in a blue button-up shirt and a vision of Ellie in 20 years stepped out of a silver 2001 Dodge Neon, parked at the right side of the building. The only memorable event seemed to be the Mastersons' visit to the dining hall, a place Ellie never seemed to enter (Was she a vampire? Did she even need mortal sustenance? Her arms WERE quite pale, and Connie Burk swore she once saw fangs poking out from under her fleshy upper lip). The family ate cheeseburgers and salads in silence, their faces content and continuous, their movements steady and precise. The tables surrounding them were empty.

This was on March 21, 2005.

Ellie Masterson disappeared on August 30, 2006. That is, she had packed and gone home the summer before, but did not return to the university for her junior year. She left no paper trail (at least, not one the average student could easily find), and her name was absent from both the internet and the county phonebook. For some, Ellie Masterson was a government spy hiding under Witness Protection, while others saw her as the astronaut-president-doctor they never became. Few ever ceased to feel the wonderment.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Written 5/9/07.

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