Tuesday, November 8, 2011

She takes a shower and exfoliates, the sweet smell of fruit essence sloughing soft skin. Volumes of effervescence in her long brown hair rinse along her body and race to reach the drain.

She pats dry and binds her hair in a towel. Warms wax and tackles her her arms, her legs, everything until she's baby smooth and wraps herself in a cheap sarong. A gift from Bali, cool and sweet as the cicadas drone outside, reminding her that she really hates the heat. She smooths body lotion on her hairless form and splashes a little Bulgari white on pressure points; behind ears, knees, ankles.

She places cotton balls between each toe, and sits on the laundry basket, painting her toenails. Creams hands and manicures her short, shapely nails; blows whisper warmth upon them to hasten the drying process. She glosses her lips and removes the towel turban. Plucks stray strands from her eyebrows and moisturises her beautiful face.  She examines herself in the full-length mirror, her hands running from shoulder to hip. Curved, tanned yet wonders why he doesn't find her gorgeous. Perhaps the mole behind her thigh, the scar above her knee. She's only 25 yet her flaws are obvious to her and since his rejection, clearly obvious to him. She deserts the reflection holding back tears and wraps the sarong around her, lamenting the slight freckling of an over tanned decolletage. She hopes he will remember her as perfect, yet all she sees is faults.

She ambles to the refrigerator proffering an affectionate hand to her large dog, "Ce sera la chien va bien." she whispers.  The hound looks at her with pleading eyes as she opens the freezer door and fills a large glass with ice. Careful of her drying nails, she uncorks a bottle of Ch√Ęteau Fage Graves de Vayres 2007, a souvenir of a recent visit to France and watches the yellow liquid, fountain over the cubes.

She sits; takes a seat on on a Papa San chair and opens her computer. Straight to iPhoto and the slideshow she never finished of their last holiday together - it's been 2 years since she was his travelling companion. Careless times and carefree hearts. How she yearns for that feeling they shared, from Bordeaux to Biarritz...heady times of love and lust, sunshine and wine. She opens her playlist and selects a song, a sad song, a reminiscent song of times gone by. A song that sounds sweet and celebratory with a melody that holds the hidden truth. She steels herself and sniffs her tears back into oblivion, takes another sip sips. On the surface, she is beautiful. Beneath, she is broken,  half the girl she was before she met him.

It was her beauty that attracted him and her maturity and intelligence despite being much younger. He'd never lavished her with material things but was romantic and sweet. His arms were strong. His mouth tender. He wrote her poetry and prose, played piano for her. Touched her tenderly and talked about things she never knew.  He spooned and didn't mind her morning breath, her wake-up scent. He wore her like a jewel, then like an old cardigan before he discarded her like an old rag and didn't wear her at all.

She didn't believe him when he said he was penniless. She ignored him when he said he didn't care. She stuck with him during his silences and self-centred pursuits. She stood against the wall as he played his computer games, adoring his outline, giving him space but it was never enough. With time, he became blase and treated her as he did all his women. With disregard and silence. The closer she became, the less he would divulge. The more she asked him to talk, the more she was stonewalled, shut out. The more he ignored, the more persistent she became. She barely knew herself; this pleading, desperate thing, longing for conversation, touch. Contact beyond sex.

She draws a bath and sinks beneath the surface of the water. The sarong billowing around her, the noise of cicadas fading as liquid muffles their sound. Eyes closed she sees him clearly projected, sitting at her computer a towel around his shoulders, tapping keys and ignoring the world around him. Her hands on his hair and fingers sliding backwards. Thumbs touching the outline of his ears, gliding from his cheek to the nape of his neck and across his shoulders. Such perfect skin. They were good times, wonderful times. He was a god in khaki and surf shirts, energetic and lithe.  She was naive and easily swayed by his charm and looks, his maturity and apparent worldliness - before false promises became a reality.  He made her swing and sing. Lifted her across puddles and held her hand. He showed her the art of love and lust. He was in her, on her, around her. At least that was her version of the truth.

She lifts her head and the water sheers from her face and shoulders as she grabs her glass of wine and fingers the rim tenderly, the way he'd once used his fingers. Gentle, probing, drawing patterns on her flesh, outlines across her face. A sad song is playing  in the background as tea light candles flicker devils on the walls. He has become devil and stolen her soul. She can no longer choose the rose-coloured view or forget his psychological cruelty.

The liquor takes effect and she tears up. She remembers lovemaking. He remembers sex. He asks but has stopped giving. Its now her mouth on his skin, her hands on his body, her gyrations that gave him pleasure while he just laps it up.  Occasionally,  when he's had a few drinks he rolls her over preferring to 'feel' rather than 'look' to sate an appetite rather than reciprocate. She can't remember foreplay, romance....well perhaps once or twice. He holds her now with a limp and inanimate arm. A shallow gesture to shut her up. He rarely kisses her without penetration.  So infrequent is true intimacy, she has difficulty remembering.  He was her Prince, sweet and adoring. He's now her cane toad, parasitic and inactive.

She replaces the glass on the corner of the tub and sinks again into the deafness of fluid.

He was brave when she met him. He rescued her heart, soothed her soul. Gave her breath, built her up, put her back on her feet. She shared her secrets, bared her soul, gave him all until that moment when the emptiness struck and she knew that she'd been taken. She'd kept nothing and had become a shadow of her former self. An emptiness overwhelms her. His silence guts her. His moods break her.  His deafness is her cacophony. His ignorance her torturer. 

Now the lukewarm waters of the bath her saviour as she tires and begins to sleep. The throbbing in her wrists subsiding and the sad song drawing to a close. She doesn' hear the glass shatter.

"What the fuck are you doing?"

The bathroom door swings open and she turns a barely conscious glance from her semi-submerged state. She's blissfully drowning in a pool of cerise.  Life streaming from two small incisions in her wrists.  The half-empty bottle on the corner of the tub. The glass smashed into a thousand tiny shards on the slate floor.  He's too late. Heaven was made for two but he chose himself above her. She is only one, drowning in her loneliness.  She slides into unconsciousness beneath the tide mark. He doesn't stop her.  It's not his fault. She's self-destructive. It's not his problem and he let's her go.

He scoops up the half full bottle with an angry grasp and takes a voracious swig of he liquor. "Bitch...it's your funeral," he mutters. Wanders into the living room and casually lifts the phone. "911. John Ryan, 354 McEvoy St. My girlfriend's just topped herself." 

The Mac is still projecting pictures as he closes the slideshow. The song still plays on repeat. He sits in a Papa San chair and swigs from the bottle as he cranks up a video game and waits for them to remove the nuisance in his bath. 

(Er no, not depressed just having a crack at writing anyway to a sad song)


  1. Very nice! I wouldn't have ever guessed a Write Anyway here. Sad songs get me every time! But do not always give me a good story. I liked this a lot. As a side note, is "topped herself" a word for suicide in Australia? Never heard it before.

  2. "Topped" is the word I mean. I realize I wrote 2 words :).

  3. Very tactile and sensuous.
    Conveyed very well the sensation of someone - I was going to say comfortable - aware of their own skin and presence.
    I believed in the physicality of it all.
    Maybe one mention too many of ciccadas.
    The cane toad comparison was jarring for me - felt too contrasting given how he had been described up till then - too crude. But I don't know. Maybe jarring in a good way.
    His reaction at the end was extreme - too extreme I think. Could someone so appalling have seemed so charming before - so normal even.

  4. Yeah, so glad you clarified about the inspiration. Saw the picture.