I lit a cigarette and walked over to the record player. I flipped the switch to on and sat the needle down on the edge of the record. Gentle piano began to flow from the speakers. I turned it up, so to be able to hear it throughout my entire apartment, and walked into the bathroom.
I plugged in the curling iron and selected a lip stick. Tonight was to be a bright red kind of night, in more ways then I could have imagined. I coated my lips and put the lipstick back into the drawer and picked up the mascara. This makeup routine continued for several minutes and then my face was on and the iron was heated.
I sectioned off a small piece of my burgundy hair and rolled it onto the hot iron. I held and released. A perfect curl fell down onto my face, burning my skin slightly. I picked up another piece of hair and repeated the process. And again. And again. And again until my head was covered completely in curls.
I brushed it out. I turned off the iron. I sprayed on some aquanet. I drew on my eyebrows and walked to the closet. This closet was part of the reason I never invited people over. When I moved into this apartment there was a living room and a bedroom. I instead chose to have a bedroom and a closet. Clothes hung from racks everywhere. Sorted by color. Hardly no room to walk. I grabbed a satin maroon dress, knee high leather boots, and a black corset.
As I laced the corset I looked at myself in the mirror. Tonight would be amazing. I had a feeling. Something was going to happen that I would never forget. It was time to go.
I lit another cigarette and turned off the record player. I quickly collected the things I’d need and haphazardly threw them into my simple black leather bag, worn on the edges and used too often. I tossed in my cell phone. My wallet. My cigarettes. My lucky lighter. I walked into the the bathroom and looked at myself one last time. I spoke out loud, to myself. “Tonight will be legendary, Amanda.”
And I left.
I exited my apartment and walked down the steep stairs to the front door. I opened the front door and felt the wonderful spring breeze blow my dress backwards. And there she was. Right there at the bottom of the front steps. There she was, a total stranger wearing a simple white dress. At first I wasn’t certain. I thought maybe she’d just fallen, she just needed a hand to get up. And then I thought maybe she was crazy, and she was sleeping. But in the back of my mind, in the part that knows the truth but won’t tell you, I knew. I knew from the moment I opened the door.
She was dead.
“I’m fine,” I say as I walk you to the door. “I’m okay now, you can go. Really.” This is what I’m saying, but what I’m screaming inside of my head is “if you love me you’ll see through this lie and know better than to leave me alone.” But you smile and wrap your arms around me, you’re going home. I squeeze you tight and hold back tears. You’re supposed to understand me completely, know me inside and out. But you can’t even tell that I’m lying. Or maybe you can tell, and you just don’t care.
Eventually you stop hugging me and open the door. As you step out into the hallway of my apartment I can feel the tears coming to my eyes, so I turn around. “I’ll see you later.” The door closes quietly behind you and quickly I lock it and collapse to the floor. I hold my breath, listening to your footsteps as you go down the hall. Listening, listening, and then finally hearing what I’m waiting for, the front door shutting.
And now I’m safe. You can’t hear me, so I stop holding back the tears. They’re flowing freely, and my body is making disgusting and primitive guttural noises. I want to stop. I want to be OK. But it’s not happening, at this moment I can’t control my thoughts, actions, or decisions. This is why I’m confused when I find myself laying in the bathroom floor, having no recollection of moving there from the doorway.
I try to wipe the tears from my eyes, but when I move my hand to my face I find that it is covered entirely – no need in trying to fight it. I give in to what’s wrong, I just want you back. I want you to understand me more. I want you to know that when I say “It’s okay, you can go home” I mean “I want you to hold me so tight that I can’t even breathe, and then a little tighter.” I want you back here, telling me everything will be okay even though I’m certain that it won’t be.
I crawl over to the bathtub and turn the water on. I try my best to remove my shirt, but my hands have forgotten how to function and the buttons are too stubborn so I give up and get into the tub with all of my clothes on. I’m not sure why I’m doing any of this, or what will happen next – for some reason I just feel like maybe it will make things a little bit better. But the water is hot, it burns my skin and I want to scream. And then I think “Why not? What’s stopping you from screaming?” And so I scream. I scream so loud that it hurts. I feel I should stop, but I just keep screaming. And it feels amazing. I stand up and rip the shower curtain down, and then throw it forcefully at the bathroom door.
The curtain catches on my toothbrush like a line of dominos almost everything on the counter is knocked down. Even better. I pick up a hairbrush from the floor and slam it into the mirror. Glass flies backward, but if it hurts me I certainly don’t notice. I open the door and continue to release my rage in the living room. Knocking over end tables, ripping up magazines, tearing down the curtains. I’m sure that tomorrow I’ll hate myself for this tantrum, but at least it’s making me hate myself a little less at the moment.
It’s now that I realize that I haven’t stopped screaming since I started. I’m screaming so loud I didn’t even hear my door unlock, or hear it when you opened it. I’m sitting in the floor now, shaking, crying, screaming only in my head. You walk over to me and wrap your arms around me, holding me so tight I can’t breathe. And then you pull me a little closer.
And I’m going to be okay.