Thanks, Wyvern. Ya know, not a lot of people would take the time to critique something fully, but you do anyways.
I dreamt up this story over the break. It’s not factual, I know, and calling it so would be an obvious lie, but I’ve been learning not to give in to dangerous impulses. This dream sums up multiple experiences and little moments of epiphany. If you want a true story, then listen now:
One day I talked to a boy with brown fluffy hair, inner warmth like a soft rock beat and clear eyes, and I fell in lust for him. Yes, lust. Then he told everyone about his real preferences and I felt quite mutilated. On that day, I was looking out around at all the faces of my peers and realized how each face could have been brushed up on a canvas. Every face flowed with a dangerous beauty so deep and rare that I couldn’t control my immense joy. My love bloated up and up in a gorged spiral until everyone held his own place in my heart and mind. I’m there now.
As for the oddity of my delving into her roots, it’s true that in rural and occasionally urban Alaska, you don’t see many Asians. I lived there for the first seven years of my life and only once or twice saw even someone of African descent, much less Asian. I don’t mean to assign anyone a stereotype, but it’s true as the nose on your face. Now listen:
Michal had these clear blue eyes that would break your heart and fluffy, chopped-up hair, soft, dark and impossibly keen as only a baby’s. She knew a little place down a flight of stairs at the back of our building where she kept this mama cat and seven baby kittens. Three of them were a deep amber color and two were grey-green. The final two were charcoal black with little flares of red, embers.
Anyways, this girl played with me a lot. We hung out most of the time, upstairs at my place or at hers across the hall, all through the summer before twelfth year. She liked to play with my clothes, dress-up and let’s-pretend and all that fun stuff. The kid was about twelve when I knew her, younger than me by far, and her looks were a mix of Asian and European, really edge when they should have been delicate and soft (her mum was Japanese but her dad a pure Pennsylvanian – that’s where the blue eyes spotted up from – and the kid lived in Alaska mostly).
We were sitting around one night when she lay down and her head was on my lap; she was looking up at me with those delectable eyes and curling her pianist’s fingers in my hair – blonde, with hints of red – that fell long and loose then, all on her chest while she lay there playing. I said “You’ve got the most incredible, edible face. Did you know that?”
She said “Yeah” and asked me from whence I hailed.
I replied “Florida”. Then she kind of reached up her arm and that damned, elegant hand of hers almost cradled my cheek (as if the notion got rethought), and her fingers ended up barely grazing my skin. The touch burned though, fizzled out sour pain. My gut clenched and my brain leaped taught. God, I could feel this desperately sensitive place jump and flinch at the tickly of her hair even through my shirt.
I had this feeling a lot, so I thought I was going to freak out. All my nerve endings blasted, hyper-aware and screaming at me, but I only sat there, trying not to move or breathe or anything, almost trying to die. I’d never felt this amount of acceptance and hunger from the other person.
My stomach churned again and I moved her out of my lap so I could stand up. I walked out into the hallway and down into the kitchen; I got out some noodle soup – the kind you buy in a square with the flavor packet of sodium – and a pot for the stove, filled up the pot and put it on to boil. Soon Michal followed me and sat down on the tile in the corner. The wallpaper – I never liked that dizzy pattern but it looked so brilliant behind her thin little body with its stark, white, gore-streaked bones, its smooth round surfaces and skin near feverish – framed her dark fluffy head. I sat down in a few, my eyes on the boiling noodles so I didn't have to look at her face -- her body -- directly.
Those eyes were so crazy, I swear. I swear you could look into them and want to eat her up just like a snapper turtle, swallow her up and guzzle her down. Gulp. I honestly did want to consume the small child in a fresh relish of gore. "Cal," she said. "I'msotired."
"Yeah," I said, "I know." I didn't know.
Something clicked, something real -- the stove timer or the clock -- and something clanged in my head, or maybe it was the water pipes clanging.
That deceptive little kid, she always acted so damn mental. She slipped like a dead fish out of water and her skin leaked sweat, her pores open and oozing and her raw lips seeking out anything alive; her dead robotic fingers kneaded my healthily flushed flesh in a poor mewling hunger. I hated her in that moment when her tongue I thought would feel like a little sardine living and wriggling in my mouth.
Yeah, I'd eat her, maybe. I'd choke her down just to know how that would be.
“Yeah,” I said, holding down orange nausea.
“What’s wrong?” Oh god, her face was orange.
Then the orange fled me and I could hold her again, so I held her again, kissed her again, and loved her like I had before. I never knew what had overcome me, but when I felt it again I just bore through it and never questioned that disgust I'd felt that night in the kitchen. Maybe I should have listened to my gag reflex. Maybe I could have saved me.
Then we ate and I looked at her again, but some motion of her hands or feet seemed out-of-place and some movement of those eyes shocked me, oddly.
Next I took her to bed.
Michal's skin looked like pink snow, but hot to the touch. I kind of picked her up in both arms and carried her over to the bed and set her down. Her fingers clung to my shirt and I pried them loose, pulled the blanket up under her chin and lay down beside her on top of the bed covers.
We told each other goodnight and sleep tight, then I lost it, rolled over underneath the blanket and grabbed a hold of her arms; I dropped my body down on top of hers and heard her let out air and gasp beneath my torso before letting in the heat of it all, the heat of the moment.
Even in Alaska, in the summer I was broiling up in the mass of wool and sheets, so I stripped off our clothes and we just lay there steaming like potatoes and stewing achingly warm in our juices. This felt unbelievably hot at night, right at the heater, under over five inches of covers, but in the morning I discovered the reason for all these pent-up emotions and desires all spotting up at one time: in the morning I saw a slick blotch of red on Michal and a spread of bright pooling red on the sheets.
So we woke up, quiet, unresponsive, spongy almost, and she took up her clothes from where I'd tossed them down mess on the floor. We said our goodbyes and didn't touch, not even once. Not that morning.