PEN Theory

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic


The first time Rebecca left, she’d dug up a ditch and dropped me in it, drowning in a pool of my own tears. The second time Rebecca left, she left cracks in my bathroom wall, bongs in my bedroom
drawer, and a lot of liquor, and I tried my best to drown myself in it.

Submitted: October 24, 2017

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Submitted: October 24, 2017

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I like the way she tugs at her hair. 

I like the way she twirls a stained strand around her little finger.

I like the splay of lashes on her lids.

She has a gritty smile and eyes the colour of old chlorinated water. Her arms and earphones construct a perfect metal barrier around her body. 

I like to catch her gaze and refuse to let go, rain or shine.

I like to make her feel isolated, because when she feels isolated the only thing that she’s aware of is my gaze on her face, my legs turned towards her, my palms turned towards the roof. 

Soft little exhales surround her rugged hair, jackets drenching her form and swallowing her whole, sneezing gaunt textures on her milky white skin. 

I like it when she rolls her sleeves up. 

 

The first time I talked to her, I didn’t talk about her eyes, the colour of old chlorinated water, or her milky skin, her stained, rugged hairstyle. 

I wove luxuries of Caribbean oceans to depict her irises, sun-kissed snow for her skin, deep ruby gems painting choppy hair. 

I took out the middle man and yet she still shook her head, smiling, yet still fixed on the floor. 

 

I kept at it, and I don’t weave a lie when I say that the blush that crept to her cheeks whenever I met her stare was the colour of freshly heated garnets. 

 

I liked to buy her beautiful blue things and tell her that the colour matched her eyes. 

I liked to compliment her, because when she smiled, I knew exactly what my purpose was. 

I didn’t buy her old chlorinated water.

 

 

When she left school, the milk-skinned, rugged beauty I’d managed to get together with left me, and I sobbed for days.

I bought blue roses and milk cartons, and faded red fabric, and I clutched it all to my chest.

My glasses spent more time off than on, because I had to remove them so frequently, tiring of my world view. 

Through fits of anger I tore apart cardigans and jeans, refused to groom myself until I had an unruly beard. 

 

It took two years until I saw her again.

 

In a club, I saw a woman, with choppy blonde layers and dark blue eyes, splintering needles into her dehydrated veins and cursing loudly, and I thought of how disgusted Rebecca would have been at her coarse language. 

 

The woman sought solace, and discovered it at the bottom of seven shots of tequila, which she pounded down. 

Her grin was explosive, but her gaze was guarded. 

She let loose on the dance floor, her body swaying like a seductress in heat, every inch of her body firm and concentrated except for those water-coloured eyes. 

Yellow lights exposed stained red roots.

Green lights lightened her eyes to the colour of old chlorinated water.

Blue lights ringed the milk-coloured skin screaming out from under three pounds of foundation.

 

The first time I made eye contact with her was through a haze of smoke.

I strolled forward with sleeves above my elbows and hair obscuring my vision, a cigarette dangling from my curled-up lip.

I stuffed one hand in my pocket and flippantly ordered a shot of whiskey with the other, watching ash tumble into my lap and rolling my eyes. 

She swayed over, leaning over the bar and providing me with an excellent view of under her shirt, and she sought out my gaze.

It took three minutes for me to boredly make eye contact with her, to see her need, her want. 

I sighed, taking another couple of drags from my cigarette and tossing it into the ashtray, and I downed the amber liquid in front of me.

She made to come closer, but by the time she did the door was already swinging behind me.

 

Every day I retuned, until the leaves huddled into themselves and hurled themselves from the trees, until her platinum hair began to retain dirty streaks of red and she stopped bothering with makeup. 

Every night I arrived, she always beat me, until one day I tried to trip her and instead found her already lay on the floor.

She was collapsed outside of the bar, in a gutter with drool running down her cheek and an infusion of heroin in her veins. 

Broken glass crunched under my feet as I stood over her, interestedly surveying the rapid movements from under her eyelids and the violent twitches of her body, until she began to convulse and I felt obligated to call 911.

 

Three days later and she returned, dressed in a pair of scrub pants and somebody else’s hoodie. Her hair had shifted back towards a brick colour and the sparkle had died from her eyes, leaving behind a dull ice colour. 

Her make-up had been abandoned in that drain and so she was scrubbed clean - milky skin, dead-coloured lips, splutters of lashes around her eyes. 

The day she came back was the day I first talked to her, leaning over the bar with a smirk as she tried to drink away the pain, quietly asking if she’d like a place to stay, stealing her control, though she didn’t have that much control to begin with.

 

I entered into a relationship with her that never seemed to start here nor end there. 

Nights were filled with shattering glasses and yells, hate stripping the wallpaper away and anger painting it scarlet. 

Her cheek glared at me, glowing red from my hand; blood spurted out of my nose. 

Every other wall was yellow - cigarettes, meth, anything with fumes really, she seemed to inhale. 

Her skin was grey. Her lips were white. Her collarbones were jutting. Her eyes were dead. 

 

She ran away after a year with too many bruises and too little clothes, without a prayer of a plan into a cold, vengeful world, and by that point I was so dead that I never could bring myself to care. 

 

The first time Rebecca left, she’d dug up a ditch and dropped me in it, drowning in a pool of my own tears.

The second time Rebecca left, she left cracks in my bathroom wall, bongs in my bedroom drawer, and a lot of liquor, and I tried my best to drown myself in it. 

 

 

Four years later and I visited a bar for a quick drink. 

I stopped inhabiting these places along time ago, crawling out a cave of self-pity and throwing myself into the ice-cold water of reality.

I got a job and a steady source of income, which I didn’t drink away.

I stopped pissing away my life, and it took a fair few years to manage it. 

As I perched on the stool, swirling the remaining half of my beer, I glanced around the bar, winking at one girl, smiling at the other.

Squeals interrupted my flirting, and I turned towards the noise, listening interestedly. 

After three or four minutes I felt obligated to chime in.

 

It took them a second to recover from the shock of a complete stranger sorting out their year-long feud, but when I turned back to my drink the two girls were sobbing on each other’s shoulders, locked in a tight embrace. I smiled to myself, knocking back the last of the bitter liquid and reaching for my wallet.

“Hell, would I like the meet the guy who finally got you two idiots to make up!”

I turned around at the speed of sound, because I heard the woman go to make another comment and stop as her eyes fixed on my face. 

Her rusty hair was piled in a ponytail. Smudges of black emphasised her blue eyes. Bubbles of pink added some colour to her milky complexion. 

I looked into her blue eyes, and she looked into my eyes, as years of electric history lost their magnetic pull and the future was once again a blank scrap of paper in front of us.


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