She felt like the loneliest girl in the world. She never minded the menagerie of friends, family, and ever adoring stable of suitors around her. At best, they were welcome distractions. At worst, they were stakes in the ground. Even though she felt alone she had grown accustomed to it, and the solitude it brought her.
She often wondered if they would be able to identify her in the morgue. In her own mind she thought of herself as a nondescript plain Jane, but how wrong she was. In her run-of-the-mill eyes, her only identifying features was a faint smell of vanilla bean. A scent that gave her away in any room she occupied and would, sooner or later, beg the question of any current baking endeavors. Artificial smells, however, fade over time. Her vanilla bottled fragrance would eventually give way to the natural odors of decay. No, her common self would only be identified by the murals she had carved upon herself.
Faded and fresh lines adorned her body the way the Nazca’s lines of Peru were so intricately planned. Her wonton acts of self-mutilation were the journal entries of her life’s diary. Each line and curve representing a passage, or tear stained memory. She could control each stroke and pass; depth and width. Picasso himself could not have conveyed that type of dismay or joy had he tried. With every slice her body made it known it was an unwilling participant. It threw up in its disapproval.
She was content with her canvas; she wasn’t proud, nor should she be. Her artwork couldn’t be shown to anyone but herself. Her long sleeves and leggings forebode such an act, and therefore it would stay hidden.
That was until she met Kris. Kris smelled of cigarettes, and what at one point could be considered apples. Kris represented everything she wasn’t, but at the same time personified everything she was. Kris’s dark eyes, and jet black hair exemplified her dream persona. Kris’s looks and demeanor screamed, ‘Fuck off!’ A sentiment only her innermost thoughts could convey. With every interaction she thought to herself, ‘why can’t I be like that?’
Their song, through many nights, became ‘Jezebel’ by Iron and Wine. Those simple nights that turned into mornings which would evolve into days that would degrade back into twilight. No one had ever seen her like Kris had, and with that she was content. Throughout each night they would create their own private universe within each others embrace.
Both dreaming of broken windows with sunshine reflecting upon each shard, and faint shadows walking past. They’d take turns holding each other through the night switching instinctively while they sailed through each others dreams. That space between Kris’s overlapped arms and chest became more of a home than any house she had grown up in.
On their last night she laid next to Kris and said that she had finally found happiness, a sentiment that Kris had reciprocated. During those faint early hours, when the city stopped wailing giving way to the most intimate of sounds she whispered to her beloved.
The contents of each breath were irrelevant. The only thing that mattered was that they, in that single moment of infinity, were together. She sorrowfully whispered, “I’ll always be by your side.” A promise she would keep. As the clock struck its given hour she kissed Kris’s forehead goodnight. Delivering it with one last message. A simple, “thank you.”
She gently broke away from that loving and warm embrace that had kept her safe through so many nights, and slipped away. She carefully tiptoed to their bathroom where her long forgotten paintbrush had slept. She picked it up once more and felt its familiar weight and texture.
During those last moments she applied some blush and lipstick. Content with the shade it would ultimately yield she laid in the tub and turned her head thinking of Kris’s face laying upon a pillow. Her last breathes were meant for Kris’s ears, but were intercepted by the hollowness between them. In that single and final second, her final good night had been heard.
Fotografía: Michelle Owen