Sunburnt

January 12, 2012
Headstrong, I remind myself. Stay headstrong and she’ll never know.

Flickering beams of light shone down on my face as I lay underneath a canopy of lush leaves, their whispering wind songs tickling my ears. Beside me, massive fits of hysteria managed to utter from her lungs, and I felt a small twinge ache inside me, but I quickly squashed it back down into oblivion.

Her laugh had a tilt to it that exuded giddiness, a sharp, staccato pitch that reminded of a toddler’s screech. It was annoyingly comforting, and it made me laugh as well every time the sound escaped her lips, and this time was no exception. My own lips puckered and a jovial billowing thundered from my lungs, overpowering whatever comment she had just made. Her volume grew and so did mine, our voices clashing in the summer breeze.

Scattered bugs, lost to the world, buzzed around our heads in invisible pathways, and after a few blissful moments, my stomach churned and ached from laughing, and I laid my arm across it to cushion the pain.

“P-P-Picture time!” She stuttered, gasping for breath and wheezing in delight. Her voice ricocheted through the sun soaked air, and I cuddled closer to her, feeling the picnic blanket that lay beneath us tighten its firm grip.

Almost as sudden as the flapping of a dragonfly’s wings, a deep burning in my gut then ascended as my laughing diminished below into small hiccups. It rose, bubbling and concocting an evil potion inside me. I could hear it coming closer… taking every chance it got to remind me of my decision.

I’m guilty… it thought, you’re guilty…

Stays strong, I thought, stay defiant. Stay…

Guilty…

The metallic gleam of her camera bore into my eyes, and I carved a fake mask onto my face, hiding the real brew beneath. I made my eyes twinkle, and my mouth curve upward at the precise angle. My eyebrows become a streamline arch and my cheeks were as warm as the summer heat. It was the perfect cover, and inside, I sheltered a restless demon desperately trying to claw its way out to the surface.

The flash and pop sizzled as it remained fixated in my vision. Patterns swirled around me and taunted me with their twists and spirals that alluded to my desperation inside. The sun seemed to melt like a candle, dripping its yellow wax onto my skin, scorching my insides with fear.

Humidity and betrayal then reacted inside me. A deadly mixture, it began burning holes through the memory, and I watched the smoke rise into the sticky air.





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