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Mystery Thawing MAG
She always smacked her Big Red gum hard
As she waltzed into class,
Her jaws working in vivacious determination
As she chewed with forced effort
Her spiked leather collar
Was dark black
Like the heavy eyeliner
that encircled her icy blue eyes
That were dubbed purple
Behind tinted contacts.
Her spiked stiletto heels
With a metal skull
Super Glued to each toe
Made long black marks
On the marble imitation tile floor,
And made loud clicking noises
That echoed down the hall like hoof beats.
Her hair was dyed ebony black
With thin purple streaks
The color of nothing natural
And everything manmade,
And stood in dark contrast against her
Smooth china pale porcelain face,
Chiseled with china doll features,
And cheekbones that were high and defined
And garnished with a generous helping
Of purple-red blush,
And her lips that were painted twilight purple
And outlined by thick black eyeliner.
Her fishnets were tight and black
And her tiny leather skirt
That came one inch from being obscene
Was tight, purple and shiny
And squeaked when she walked
And jingled the gold-link chain
She used as a belt
Against the silver zippers and shiny buckles
Of her $875 leather jacket
That was specially imported to her
From a top designer in France
Named Pierre AdVassio
That no one had ever heard of
But she thought was cool
Because it was French leather
And took her almost 2 1/2 years to save up for.
Everyone looked up as she walked into class,
Up from their books about the Salem witch trials
George Washington's cherry tree,
And other things like
The laws of relativity
That no one ever needs to know,
To stare into her eyes,
Normally hard and icy
And even Hell in its mighty fury couldn't melt,
Though everyone was most sure
It burned in her veins.
She called herself "Mystery" ever since ninth grade,
And tattooed a fire-breathing snake
On the right side of her neck,
That crawled seductively down her shirt
To wrap itself around her left hip bone.
Today, something captivated our attention
As Mystery sat in her chair,
Maybe it was because she didn't cross her legs
Seductively like she did
In every class
Every time she sat down.
Or because her jaws stopped chewing her gum
And she let it sit wet and hard on her tongue,
Instead of her consistent chewing
That was always as much a part of her
As her dragon-snake tattoo.
Or maybe it was because her eyes
Looked different today,
Behind her purple-tinted contacts,
Like the ice had melted momentarily.
Murmurs hummed in the background,
As books of Washington, Aleister Crawley and Newton
Closed, and all attention focused on Mystery,
Whose eyes were focused obliviously on
The metal skull with a knife in its eye
Super Glued to the tip of her left four-inch heeled shoe.
I remembered the summer of ninth grade,
When her boyfriend and brother were shot to death
In a robbery at a gas station in Boston,
And she was there to see it all .
And blamed herself because she got away
And could do nothing to help them live.
She told me once she thought it should have been her
Losing her life on the cold tile floor.
Her hair had been light blond then,
Her eyes as blue as a pure gas flame,
Her flesh was not marred with tattoos,
And she wore blue jeans and sweaters,
And Nike sneakers, and only wore make up
On formal occasions.
That summer, and ever since kindergarten
We had been best friends,
We talked about Corey White
Whom we secretly swore
Would become a plumber
Because he wore his pants like one.
We used to play Barbie,
And dress up like movie stars
In our mothers' formal gowns
And recite lines in old black and white movies,
And smoke long pencil "cigarettes"
To make our parents laugh.
I remember in third grade
We saw Bambi
And she cried her eyes out
When his mother got shot.
I remember the red-orange plastic walkie-talkies
We had and used every night
To talk really late, past our bedtimes,
Because it made us feel "cool"
And didn't ring like the phone and wake
Our parents up.
I remember the time she stole a pack of gum
From a Shell station and almost got caught
And swore never to chew that brand again,
But that changed, because she's been
Chewing it for three years now.
She never cried at the funerals,
And no one saw her cry at a sad movie
She never talked to anyone,
Unless it was to criticize
Or curse at someone,
Or maybe just life in general.
Everyone thought she was hard and tough
And never needed anyone.
She even stopped talking to me,
And decided to call herself "Mystery,"
To dye her hair purple and black,
And be hard.
But today she looked different,
And for the first time in too long
A silver tear fell from her eye
And smeared her eyeliner
Down her pale cheek,
And for a moment I saw the blue in her eyes,
Peek out from behind their purple shields,
And I saw what she fought so hard to hide –
Someone whispered, “It’s been three years!”
Someone else asked what made her finally cry,
And in the back of my head,
A tiny voice said,
"She's thawing …"
I walked to her desk, remembering how she used to be,
And wrapped my arms around her shoulders,
Amazed when she returned the hug
And sobbed like a child losing innocence,
Against my brand new purple sweater
I'd just bought the other day for $30
But I only smoothed out her hair (too black)
And coaxed her as classmates gawked in astonishment
At her sudden display of emotion.
I never cared that her eyeliner stained my sweater,
Or that people in the hall stopped to look in,
Or the teacher just called our names for the fifth time,
I just bent down to her ear
And whispered tenderly, softly, so only she could hear
"Welcome back, Sarah."