I'm just a red head named Sky

“You get a lot of house calls nerd?” He taunts, his words burning against my earlobes.
“Not too often ….”My own breath feels hot against my lips, coated oh so cherry sweet; our fingers lacing absentmindedly.
He grunts, “Come here”, incoherently.
And as the room shrinks, and the giddy feeling in my tight stomach grows intoxicating, I can’t help but press my lips to his … so David Maggoty can engulf me in his warm secure embrace.
I scratch his head with my charcoal dark nails as my braid quickly comes undone and mahogany strands are let loose to tickle my nose.
The first kiss is melodramatic; brimming over with emotion, and groping, and moaning.
It was just too meticulous.
The second kiss makes me feel as though we’ve been twined in a superficial knot in time.
As if everything is revolving around us and we’re just two united entities.
The third kiss makes me sober.
Patches of a reality I despise soon reveal itself through this gray haze; a reality where I’m vicariously trying to find myself in the labyrinth of someone else’s body.
I cling on to the collar of his flannel to bring this moment back to its prime.
Kiss. Kiss. Kiss. Kiss. Kiss.
We tip over like a sinking ship, swallowed by a sea of linen sheets and embroidered duvets.
Our heart beats are synchronized; our heart beats are staggering out of existence.
“Sky,” it reels me out of him and into the air gasping; my name, “four o’clock, time to go.”
I look at the open door where Mrs. Maggoty taps her brown penny loafers by the brass threshold.
She’s a petite woman, with marine eyes, lucid pale skin, and wiry blonde hair.
The mother son resemblance is uncanny.
“Oh, yeah,” only when my mouth moves do I realize that a silver string is hanging precariously from my plump bottom lip; strung with crystalized specks of his DNA.
I swipe my knuckles along my upper chin, slip away from his waist, and straighten my skirt.
“I’ll just be going.” Hastily, I stomp into my blue heels and strap on my swollen back pack. “Bye, David.”
He saunters over in his dirty socks and pecks me on the cheek. “Bye Nerd.”
I smile sheepishly.
When the mid-evening air blows crisp in my face, slicing my wide open as a stride down an open crosswalk, I ponder who was dumber in the previous situation.
Me, for actually believing that I could allay a mothers’ suspicion while my skirt rides up past appropriate, or him for leaving the door open while we maul each other for fun.
Me.
A screeching siren fires through my ear drums and strikes me paralyzed.
The blazing white that blinds my already glazed eyes stops my heart.
“GET OUTTA THE WAY!” Drivers scold, their passengers leering; that one seat belt restricting them from going over the boarder of life and death, “GET OUTTA THE WAY!”
The scrutiny of it all is so overwhelming I look up, only to find an emerald ray blinking its way into existence.
“I knew I should’ve worn my glasses,” I whisper to myself.
But in the back of my mind I’ve already lived through this humiliation; in the back of my mind I know exactly why I’ll never wear glasses to his house.
My pet-name says it all.
:
“Sky, you’re late.” My mother says curtly as I swing open our side door and clack up the stairs. “Is everything okay?”
I stop on the fourth step. “Yeah, I’m fine.” It may be laconic, but it’s also true.
I listen to the click of the television as my mother views random channels, relaxing with her feet up on our couch; a platter of mashed potatoes and stake doused in strong gravy smokes in her palm. “Alright then, do you need a ride to choir practice?”
“Actually, I think I’ll walk.”
“You still Pristine?”
“I’m still pristine.”
I clack up the rest of the stairs in silence, a silence that has now been dubbed permissive.
When I reach my bedroom door I open it, kick my heels off, and snatch up my converses that peek bashfully from the wooden leg of my vanity.
I thrust my pink toes in, tie up the fluorescent strings, and head back out.
:
I joined because I wanted to be one.
I wanted to be something more than purely frivolous.
I joined because … I like the sound of “Sky, a member of the high school choir.”
“You sound nice.” A girl compliments as we stand side by side on the risers.
“You, too,” I reply, not acknowledging the fact that we can hardly hear ourselves over the soprano in the front row whose high C has launched into an octave unknown to our universe.
She doesn’t have to move, doesn’t have to strain, she just has to open up her mouth.
Her range is so immaculate it puts me to shame.
I envy that simplicity.
“Thanks.” She says so sincerely as her lips curl into a smile.
All the while, I can’t help absorbing the spirit that feels this group. A spirit of love, happiness, and confidentiality so potent I find myself clapping along to every song; rocking to the rhythm.
It’s just, finding a place with good people, with good mindsets, it’s just so … settling.
We close with prayer, and as I snap on my jacket and head back out with the other members I notice words with negative connotation. They’re tossed back and forth through the air, and over my head.
They’re just teens, I convince myself, no one’s perfect.
I exit the school doors and notice the girl I had sat with standing by the wall with her arms crossed over the chest of her gray pea-coat.
“Bye,” I say, because it’s the friendly thing to do to someone who has been friendly to you, when you don’t know exactly what to say.
Her smile glows through the stark darkness, and then she drops something; and curses.
I run over to her. “Hey, holly much?”
She snickers while kneeling to the ground. “No, holly some.” She grips the glittery bud of a well-served cigarette. “Seriously, what world did you come from … Saturn?”
“I come from a world where titles, created corresponding actions.” We’re still playing but I can’t help sensing the tick in the atmosphere, in the mood, and her expression.
“Just because we promote the disregard of the flesh, doesn’t mean we can’t indulge in temptation once in a while.” As the cigarette reaches her indefinable lips, I watch her hazel pupils dilate.
"Actually, it means exactly that.” I state, coughing from the fumes.
“Look, you think half these folks are in this group to be holly?”
My eyebrows crook. “What do you mean?”
“Sometimes you just need a place to be.” Her black nimble fingers grace my shoulder. “You know.”
I do know. I just don’t want to admit it.
While walking home I realize that I don’t want to be affiliated with a crowd of hypocrites, no matter how talented they are.
If I’m going to be something, it’s going to be something true.
Perhaps things haven’t changed that much since Shakespeare’s time, I mean, we still wear masks to social events.
They’re just more …intricate.
Then I look up at the traffic light.
:
When I come home and my mother asks-in her own way-how choir practice was, I’ll say I’m not involved anymore.
And when she asks why, I’ll say because being David’s girlfriend is sufficed.
“Still pristine?”
“Still Pristine.”
I only talked to one person in that group, and she didn’t even have the audacity to ask for my name.
Truly, I never existed there anyway.
:
The next day, while deliberately stalking down the bustling corridor of the school to make my feeble presence known, I begin to ponder what it would be like to have confidence perched on my shoulder like a parrot.
Aside from the fact that I feel like a blanched canvas without David’s flamboyant flare tangled around my waist, I also happen to be the one foible on his record.
They all ask the same question, “Why’d you pick her?”
And he always gives the same answer, “I’m just trying something new.”
Yeah, not because she’s special, or because she’s … the one, or because by some small speck of a chance you might be in love with her, but because you “wanted to try something new”; as if I’m sushi!
“Hey, Sky.” A salutation issued by Brittany Monroe, a girl whose amber ringlets spill out of the confinement of her white Abercrombie hoodie, a girl whose smile has always struck me dumb because even though it was a straight pink line, it still shimmered, and a girl who I recently discovered is a lesbian.
I stifle a wave and utter a quick, “hey”.
Now I know what the good book says, “For if we should judge ourselves, we would not be judged”, but I’m not quite sure yet whether or not I support this cause.
I know she’ll probably substitute my name with foul words, and our associations will be no more than awkward occurrences, but I’m just … not sure.
I’m not sure I want that tagged to my name.
A couple years ago, I bet that was okay.
:
“So we’re not having lunch together anymore?” Leah asks, adjusting her binder constantly between the sleeves of her lavender sweater.
“Not unless you want to sit with me.”
She shrinks.
I know it’s mean, but I knew she was too shy, too timid, and too full of fear to try something like that; venture out of her comfort zone.
Instead she remains incarcerated in a room dominated by books of all sorts and the cultivated teens that finger through them.
I didn’t want to be a part of that.
“I’m fine,” she replies weakly, “I’m actually really happy for you.”
“Really?!”
“Yeah.”
“Thanks.”
I’m surprised how well we’ve learned to lie to each other.
When I leave and enter the cafeteria to sit next to the boyfriend I’d long for, I notice him sitting by another girl.
Without my glasses I can’t make out her features, but I can tell she’s giggling flirtatiously.
“He’s told a joke,” I assure myself, “he’s told a really, really funny joke and she’s laughing because that’s the natural mortal reaction.”
Yet I can’t help losing my composure, then sprinting to bathroom.
While scraping my wet, bent face with paper towels I wonder how much of myself I’ve given away; and what percent I have preserved.
:
Weekend Saturday mornings are sunshine seeping through the exterior of my sisters apartment, leaking onto the floor where I lay camped out below the couch with legs splayed, and only a t-shirt and gym shorts to compensate for my mangled brown chignon.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” I recite, holding the worn puce book in one hand, while scratching my thigh with the other. “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your path?”
“Proverbs 3: 5 and 6, patience is certainly a virtue.”
“Gah!” Startling me with her impeccable timing, I look up and watch Charlotte take a seat, perched with her legs crossed above me; smiling down.
Somehow this scene seems too mutual for recognition
I blink,” Just another one of those things I’m supposed to acquire but don’t.”
“Like longsuffering.” She grins, as if she’s won.
I tilt my head up, “Name all of the fruits of the spirit”, and relish in the moment as she fumbles with her next retort.
Her blonde eyebrows pinch, “Love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
“Do you know how much I abhor you?”
“Probably just as much as I love you.”
“Touché.”
She trails her soft fingers through me scalp, “You’re still pristine right?”
“Ugh, yes.” I slap her hand off. “I swear, you and mom are going to drive me crazy with that question! Just because I have a boyfriend doesn’t mean I’m going to abandon my deeply rooted ethics. If I said I was staying a … virgin until I’m married I mean it. I’m not a liar.”
“But you are a thief. “ She snatches up the bible I have neglected and laid on its side. “You just can’t seem to stay out of my room, you maggot.”
“Yeah, some things just don’t fade with age,” I pull my knees into my chest, “kind of like that nickname.”
She shrugs, her tight brown curls bouncing. “You still fit it.” Four words that say a lot more than they’re supposed to. “But the bible, out of all my stuff you couldn’t have taken for use and benefit? Is everything okay in life sis?”
I’m silent for a while, hesitant to confide. Then I look at her white washed gown, and realize how early in the day it is. “Is it good to not know who you are … or are meant to be.” Swallow. “Is it good to be lost.”
“Oh,” she stops cradling the word, and scrambles to the floor. “It’s one of those mornings. Well, I guess it all depends on whether or not you’re sure you’re going to get found. Then it’s sorta like a test.”
“What if you’re not?” An aroma of bleach and vanilla diffuse around us; a calming haze.
“Then it might just be detrimental.”
And my sub conscience overflows with bloody visions.
“Don’t get all worried and queasy Sky, everything’s going to be completely fine … it’ll just take time.”
Time is a luxury I do have, but don’t choose to utilize; simply because, not even this afternoon has been promised.
:
When I rip off the box top and the model photographed on it, then pour, scrub, condition, scrub, and air dry, I feel superior; in my decisions, and life.
Sovereign.
In my cramped bathroom, I unleash the hair cap and watch auburn red ringlets cascade past my brittle shoulders.
Dyeing is, after all, a homophone.





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