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Beauty's Beholder

By , Cicero, NY
She’s a beautiful thing, The Lady.



She grabs me, and suddenly I’m screaming. Higher, higher, jumping off a tree, landing in a pile of clouds. Have I always screamed this loud?



Round and round and round, I have no idea where up is. Everything’s nothing and nothing is everything. And me? I am the epitome of everything and nothingness living in euphoria.



Scream.



**



I’m still screaming, but not aloud.



The grass below me is itchy. I scratch, but the itch doesn’t go away.



Itch, itch, itch. Scratch, scratch, scratch. Is that a bug on my arm? And is it raining?



I feel my face, and realize I’m crying. When did I start crying? Am I even sad? At first, I’m not sure how I feel. Then, I turn onto my back, and start wailing. Loud, breaking sobs, snot running out my nose, and the feeling of a thousand shards falling onto me, into me.



Isn’t crying another way to scream?



**



“You’re really f***ed up.”



I look up. Brown eyes, skin tinted with Native American roots, and a slouching posture. I wonder for a second if he’s real.



“Are you Jesus?” I ask.



He sits next to me. “Nah, Noah. You know. The guy with the ark?”



“I’ve heard of him.” My voice is hoarse, soft. Hair falls into my eyes, but I don’t feel like brushing it away. Noah does it for me. “Did you know Jesus?”



“Mmhmm.” His fingers massage my hair. I lay on his shoulder.



“Did you talk to him?”



“Plenty of times.”



“What’d he say?” I feel drunk, but I know I’m not.



“He said you’re really, really f***ed up.”



My heart. It hurts like hell. I think of angry blue eyes, rough fingers, and a thrust that makes me bleed. “I…I’m sorry.” My voice breaks again. It’s all I can say.



**



It’s one a.m. when I realize I need her again. I crave her sweetness, her love. Her disease.



Like a divine goddess, she comes out decked in white, and together we dance. Faster and faster, until I fall down with laughter and a hurting chest.



I wonder briefly if she speaks French. I’ve always loved French.



“Speak to me!” I command.



No one answers. I go to the oak tree and climb. “F***ing speak to me!” I shout.



Nothing.



I jump down, and run. Run to where I’m not alone.



**

I’m not alone, but I’m alone.



Noah’s on the other side of the window. I keep hitting the glass, shouting at him to let me in, please let me in, but he just looks at me. Or maybe through me.



My head is hurting, and I just want to be where Noah is. I hit the glass again, and scream. Scream until my voice is nearly gone. It starts to rain, just a little bit.



He just stares, and The Lady keeps dancing.



**



It’s pouring when he finally opens the window.



“S***,” he mutters.



I’m wet and crying and dizzy as he pulls me inside.



“F***ing s***.” He runs to get me a towel. I stand still, tears and water streaming down my face. I wonder where The Lady went.



Noah runs back, slipping on a puddle of water, and wraps a towel around me. I realize I’m shivering.



“F***ing dumba** s***,” he whispers. He pulls me close. I know I’m messing up his shirt. “What the f*** is wrong with you?”



I want to answer him—I want to tell him everything. How everything’s falling apart. How I’m one failing grade away from flunking. How I broke a mirror. How I still feel semen inside of me. How I can’t let go of The Lady. But I say nothing, and let the hole in my chest grow larger.



I cling to him tightly and cry.



Cry until The Lady stops dancing.



**



I’m sorry, I keep saying. Over and over again, I say it into his bare shoulder.



We’re getting tangled in his blankets—deeper and deeper—legs overlapping and arms twisting. Twisting, twisted, twisting, twist. I open myself to him. He delves deeper.



Sweating, his forehead touches mine. “Never again, okay?” His voice is breathy, soft. “Please don’t do it again.”



He pushes hard, and I cry out. I wrap myself around him. He wraps around me. We are one. I wonder if The Lady is jealous. I don’t need her. I wonder if I ever did.



More and more, I cling to Noah.



“Never again...”



A promise has been made.



**


He’s a beautiful thing.



He grabs me, and suddenly I’m laughing. I don’t know why, or how, but it erupts from me like a fountain, bubbling over. Have I always laughed this loud?



Round and round, we spin. Up, down, left, right—it all collides until it becomes a mesh that equals both nothing and everything.



A part of me craves The Lady. Her happiness. Another part wishes I’d never met her. I know I can’t take the years back. Chances are, I’ll see her again soon.



But I know for today, I’ll keep spinning.



Spinning until I fall from something that feels like happiness.





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