Perfect Red

March 1, 2011
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I threw my bag down by the front door of my obnoxiously large house, and turned around to thank my friend, Lana, for the ride home. “See you tomorrow, Kristy!”, she shouted back. My house was empty; the Jennings family was never home. Perfect Father, Mr. Rodger Jennings, worked late into the night being the CEO and founder of the fanciest law firm in all of Dallas. Perfect Mother, Mrs. Ivana Jennings, was busy at the office designing her very own line of jewelry and fine china. In her “spare time”, she was also the president of my school’s PTA, a very respectable job, depending on who you asked. Perfect Tiffany and Perfect Brian, the Jennings twins, were off at their second year at Princeton, changing the state of New Jersey with their sky high GPAs, incredible abilities in cheerleading and football respectively, and of course their overall perfectness. And then there was me, just Kristy Jennings.
I ran upstairs to my bathroom, thanking the Lord that the school day was over and it was finally my time to paint. No one knows about my paintings. They wouldn’t understand the abstract deep red lines that mean so much to me; the only way for me to find an escape from my perfect world. So I tied my golden blonde hair in a tight, high ponytail, rolled up the sleeves of my purple cashmere sweater, and let the painting take over me.
With the first few strokes, my heart rate began to pick up as the ceramic tiled world around me began to spin slower and slower, around and around and around and around like the spinning teacups at the county fair. Filled with children smiling while screeching like something is hurting them, even though they’re the ones spinning the silver wheel to make themselves dizzy and sick, in charge of their own pain.
The red spilled out over my slightly tanned canvas, creating curves on top of the straight red lines. Rivers of red flowing under bridges of red, diagonally across the canvas and then streaking down like black mascara running down Lauren Conrad’s cheeks during her “signature cry”, back in the days when she was still on “The Hills”. A few red droplets spilled onto the floor, one by one, seemingly spinning in the air during their descent. As if someone had choreographed the way in which the red ballerinas would tumble to the ground like dominoes. A teardrop attempting to blend into a beach full of sand.
I began to dance around in circles on my tip toes. Doing little pirouettes on point like the plastic ballerina that pops out of my purple wooden jewelry box and spins to her own music. I began to sing to myself as I danced, my high pitched voice echoed throughout the emptiness of the house, my bare feet hot on the tiled floor of the air conditioned room. My feet were warm like I had hot sand between my toes, yet cold like I was walking towards the ocean and white bubbles of salt were soaking them. I imagined I was dancing on a beach, in and out of the water as the waves pull back, splashed out, and pulled back again. There was nobody in sight for as far as I could see in every direction, and there was nobody past where I could see either, but that was something only I could know. I understood what it must feel like for other people when they do something right, happiness that no one could destroy for a short-lived period of time.
I flashed back to that party last weekend, during which some random senior offered to let me “borrow” his drugs. I obviously refused because that kind of thing is so not acceptable as a potential candidate for student body president, but it was really because I didn’t need them. Who needs drugs when I can have this? This is my addiction. I screamed some undecipherable sound of pure joy.
I spun with my arms in first position and I whirled around and around and around until the world was so blurry that all I could see was streaks of red.
I stumbled back as I sat down with my spine straight against the shower door, hugging my knees against my chest, my arms loose, and my palms facing the ceiling as if waiting for the paint on my hands to evaporate up into the clouds. I inhaled and exhaled and examined my work. I closed my eyes and concentrated on exactly how I felt, the only true way to judge the day’s work of art.
I saw my perfect boyfriend, who treated me like a plastic Barbie doll who he could dress up and down whenever he wanted, and bring around with him to show off to all his friends. I saw my perfect school; its tuition costing more per semester than a minimum wage worker would be paid in a year. I saw my perfect grades. The 100%s that I would have gladly traded for 100 more minutes of painting. I saw my perfect morning cheeriness, with the help of under-eye concealer and lattes. I saw my perfect siblings who left a wake of their perfect legacy wherever they went; a legacy which I had to live up to. I saw my perfect parents, wondering where meiosis went wrong when they created me.
I saw myself, Kristy, who, still spiraling through the high of what I’d just done, had one thing that made me probably not that perfect after all. As my painfully bright blue eyes fluttered open, these people that made up my life disappeared, “poof”ed away by my magical fairy godmother who had finally come to save me.
I slowly uncoiled my ponytail holder and rolled down the sleeves of my sweeter, covering my artwork with purple cashmere. I ran my blood stained fingers through my blonde hair and grabbed my hot pink razor off the floor. As the banister supported my entire body, I walked down the two flights of stairs and out into my backyard. I went behind our large oak tree and sat down on the wooden swing that hung from the canopy of its branches. Twisting the instrument of my painful pleasure around in my hands, like I was seeing a new toy for the first time on Christmas morning. I found my special spot behind the tree and lifted off the square sod patch of bright green grass, revealing a small hole filled with tools identical to the one I held in my hand. I carefully placed in yet another razor and then refilled the hole. Burying my secret, my type A blood, and all of my perfection along with it.

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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

beth said...
Mar. 13, 2011 at 12:30 pm
truly had to rtead the entire article to see where it was going
marilyn said...
Mar. 12, 2011 at 6:27 am
compelling story, with great imagery and innuendoes,  my favorite one being "type A blood"
laurie b fan said...
Mar. 10, 2011 at 11:11 am
I loved this story - I had to read it through again when I realized what the red "paint" actually was. Very clever and insight into the world of a "cutter", which from the outside in can be difficult to understand.
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