they let themselves in with the fleeting innocence of smiles long gone. the foot in the door welcomes the barrage of voices inside. I see the silhouette of subtle shades of repentance in the distance. I kick my shoes off and sprint, sprint to a place where they cannot get to me.
the garden of perfumed petal lips, a refuge, a respite – a regret. It’s catching up.
I say, “By the pricking of my thumb,
Something Wicked this way comes”
the dastardly destruction of pricking thorns, uprooting life as it blooms, I look around for Wicked. I don’t see her. the thorns weigh me down. I gently caress a few and bury them, the soil surrounding them. it weighs the same. repeat. repeat. repeat. it feels heavier. Wicked isn’t here yet. all that moves are the ripples in the water distorting my reflection.
the flames lick away at my skin, disfiguring it & disappearing eventually. the trees that line the windowsill sway with the wind. the permanent dusk aches for a lone cherry tinted cloud to float by again because at least it wouldn’t be as dark. a lone flame disintegrates the edges of the notes I intended to leave behind but never had the courage to. the dark corners the words at the center filled with guilt and goodbyes.
the ladder rests against the wall. I go down and lower thinking each step is the last. one more rung and the descent to madness will be sealed. the paint clings stubbornly to the metal with patches flaking off & embedding themselves into the fabricated reality of my universe. the echoes cling to my skin and the yellow fades to the cerulean skies – I pray it comes back.
the ache of bleeding knuckles after the futile fight with Fate – an inevitable one. only one of us hurts. only one of us deserves it. splintered, the fragments of my reality disappear with each second spent separated from the silver. a flower-adorned girl once fell in love the blades of grass with years ago, the disappointment she would feel at the thought of growing up and hoping that they could tear her skin apart when the rusted silver never stayed with her.
the rage you feel, when you’re powerless in the face of forces that are stronger than you. like the tide. a lunatic yearns for the moon, the pull, the need to do something anything everything just to feel those little drops of crimson that found themselves exposed. every time you go over them again with the edges that best be left alone, you lower yourself another rung.
it was the mirror. the mirror that showed me Wicked. the mirror that showed me this is real. that when my hands touched my skin and they came away red, this is who I am, and this is who I will be. I must learn to live with it. learn to live with the overhanging clouds and the sting of regret every time I bleed. But I don’t bleed, I make myself bleed. And resigning myself to this fate, be inevitable as it may be, isn’t an option. but still I can’t help but love the irony of placing my hands together to pray as blood drips down my fingers.
the blocks of permanence that I have irrationally chosen to stake my entire identity upon, they haven’t given way yet. these ruinous hues, as terrible as they are, are mine to claim. maybe it’ll fall down, maybe it already has.
“ ‘Tis time ” they shout.
Illustration by Dhanashree Pimputkar