By: ZT Wiser
I watched her sitting quietly at the patio table as her company chattered away. The conversation focused on who had been wearing who, and which party had been the most decadent the night before. They erupted into laughter.
She sipped at her wine.
I thought perhaps she sipped a bit too fast considering how early it was, but she needed the distraction. Any distraction would do, that explained the obscenely wealthy man in the ridiculous hat seated to her left.
He’d been trying to determine all morning if he had any chance of bedding her. He didn’t very much care if he did or didn’t, but the thought of a new conquest, no matter who she was, did interest him. At least, it interested him enough to continue getting the check at every stop for the last 40 some hours.
She had met this cadre at an opulent after party for an opulent director whose latest cinematic indulgence had screened just prior—wowing the most discerning of sycophantic critics and hopeful hangers on.
The alpha of this cadre made her acquaintance while gawking at the ridiculousness of the golden toilets in the restrooms. The conversation began around a mutual overflow of awe at the display. He had realized that she was being sarcastic in the exact same moment that she realized he was being sincere. Both were too exhausted from the pomp and circumstance of the evening to condemn the other for their despicable perspective. Instead they cut their losses with the rest of the crowd and ordered a round of drinks.
The rest of the group were assembled specifically for the purpose of bolstering his odds of being permitted admission to parties where the famous and the occasionally interesting gathered. They were pretty, and demonstrated the behavioral markers of attracting a good time. They were also often instrumental in helping him acquire carnal access to beautiful and sometimes interesting young women.
Throughout the entire night she had spotted me in the crowd. On no fewer than seven separate instances she pushed through the sweaty sea of designer clothes only to have her deepest disappointment confirmed—I was not there. No matter where she went, she always saw me, but I was never there.
I watched her sip on her wine and fight back the urge to yawn.
She retrieved the letter from her bag and ran her fingers over the coarse texture of the envelope. The familiar handwriting sent a tingle throughout her body—the sudden yet dull vibration of a battery on her tongue. Written upon the envelope was her address, along with a return address that carried a heavy emotional weight.
As she read her once and present addresses she felt a sudden surge of spinning in her chest. A warm green light flooded through her. She closed her eyes and mouth tightly to prevent it from escaping. The behatted man saw this and wondered if she was finally exhausted and drunk enough to give herself completely over to his passive seduction.
Her head tilted back and she gazed upwards towards me. The clouds were scattered, and divided by deep creases into the atmosphere like a puzzle being slowly assembled. I stared down through one of the many openings in that puzzle.
The night before was when everything changed for her. Perhaps changed is a poor choice of words. The previous night, on the ridiculous man’s ridiculous yacht was when she began her journey back to the beginning—back to home.
The merry group had sang and cackled their way to the overindulgent boat after making the rounds at all the places where all the people one would want to be seen with had already been seen. The boat was the type of blemish that both the very wealthy and the very poor often mistook for value.
I watched as she awkwardly boarded the vessel, tipsy from the evening’s festivities. She found her way to the port-side guardrail and was staring out at the moonlight shimmering across the glassy waters of the French Riviera. She sipped from a bottle of water and wondered where I was, who I was with, was I happy…
A shadow engulfed her shivering frame from behind. A hand slid onto her shoulder and pulled her body close to that of the man in the ridiculous hat. I was surprised at how easily she slid into the space between his shoulder and arm. She appeared very comfortable in that space, that warmth—as if she felt safe there.
He smiled at her lack of resistance and began to prattle on about some terribly boring facts pertaining to his yacht, and his wealth in general comparison to that of the owners of the other several dozen yachts strewn about the water.
He asked if it were time to retire to the bedchamber for the evening. She pulled away from his embrace and placed a gentle but firm hand on his chest.
“I’m not going to fuck you.”
“I was suggesting you take residence in the guest room tonight, seeing as the day has appeared to catch up with you, my dear.”
I watched closely as her eyes penetrated him with the resolve of a woman ready to swim to shore if needed. She held her gaze long enough to be certain he saw her intent. The two of them then descended the small set of steps to the sleeping quarters below, hand-in-hand.
She stood, facing the mirror in the small bathroom. I saw her bare fingernails tug through her mane of wild, red hair. The letter was spread open across the sink. She kept her gaze straight ahead—staring deep into the reflection of her own eyes.
A spinning ball of green light flared inside of her chest as she laid one hand on the letter. She held her gaze in the mirror. Where her eyes had been green earlier that day the irises were now wavering blue flames—the tips licking at the infinite blackness of her pupils. I felt the swell of light wash over me in my perch—like waves carrying intentions out to sea.
While she hadn’t yet read the letter beyond the greeting, she could feel through the palm of her open hand what the words were saying—what my words were trying to tell her. She felt an overwhelming sadness at both what wasn’t and what could be because of those words. The green spinning light in her chest sped up, and the light began to seep out of her—through her eyes, ears, mouth, and nose. The light started to filter out of her skin and through the thin fabric of her dress.
She closed her eyes against the escaping light before it could consume all of the boat, all of Europe, all of the earth. As she clenched her eyes tightly she began to feel something closing in around her form. Her skin tightened, and she struggled to move against the stiffening.
The spinning accelerated, and she gasped for air. She took a heaving breath in and heard a crunch. It was the sound of safety glass shattering. I watched what happened next very closely.
The tension around her body loosened—the restriction softened. She opened her eyes and stared into a shattered mirror. Only, it wasn’t the mirror in front of her that was shattered—it was her that had shattered.
She leaned in to the mirror to look more closely at the lines forming spider webs across her entire body. As she raised her hand from the letter to her cheek she felt and heard the crunching of crushed glass giving way against the pressure of her movement. She dragged her fingertips down her cheek and watched as flaking shards of herself crumbled off her face. Instead of falling down onto the letter, they fell upwards and disappeared through the ceiling of the small room.
With every movement the pieces framing the fault lines between the major continents of her body crumbled more, and gently floated upwards—to me.
As she quietly studied her tectonics I patiently gathered her shards as they drifted back to the start. Fatigue washed over her suddenly, and with fierce determination.
She carefully folded the letter, slid it neatly into its envelope, and carried it back into the bedroom where she deposited the precious artifact into her handbag. After removing all of her clothes she laid down on the bed, above the covers. Gravity pulled her breasts to the sides of her body as her lungs filled with air in deep rhythmic breaths—the large fragments of her body grinding against one another with each inhalation.
Lying on the bed, she felt the gentle rise and fall of the boat on calm waters and ran her fingers over her torso, up around her breasts, and back down to the spot of her flat belly just above her pelvis. With every movement more shards floated up towards me.
She could feel seven distinct segments across her body, all of which were splintered and covered in stress cracks. I could see an additional five smaller segments beyond what she had counted.
The pressure of exhaustion proved too strong, and she fell into a deep sleep as soon as her eyes closed. I watched over her as she slept—keeping the spinning green light inside of her safe.
The next morning she sat at the table with the cadre and wondered if they had noticed her shattered figure. Just because no one had said anything didn’t mean they couldn’t see it.
She gulped down the last of her wine. The man in the ridiculous hat was right there to fill her glass again, which she welcomed. She sipped at her replenished intoxicant and ran her fingers over the pulpy paper of the envelope.
The familiar handwriting gave her the urge to both smile and cry. She closed her eyes and remembered a photograph. She saw us, together, her in a thin white dress, wild red hair flying in the wind. We were standing along a wooden fence next to an old barn. We were smiling, and a lust that could only have been created by raw love trembled beneath the surface of our figures.
A tear snuck out of her right eye and flowed down through a deep crevasse on her cheek. A large piece of her dislodged and broke free from her body. Her left shoulder had cracked under the strain of the memory, and was now floating up into the sky. She watched with confusion as the fragment of her shoulder tumbled upwards, flat and reflective.
The large shard of her floated up close to me. With great care I set it into place on myself. A ray of golden light beamed through the fitted piece of her down onto the street below.
Her eyes followed the beam of light from the gap in the clouds down to where it was illuminating the pavement only a few dozen meters away. She clutched the letter to her chest and stood up. The group of merrymakers paid little to no attention to her departure as she walked purposefully towards the shaft of light shining down on the street.
The man and his ridiculous hat watched intently as she strode away from his party. He was quite certain he would never see her again, and considered calling after her. A sharp burst of laughter from his other female companions quickly stole away his attention—and away from her it remained.
She walked up to the spot of light. It was a radiant circle three feet in diameter shining in the exact center of a busy intersection. She never broke her stride as she approached and stepped into the light—cars honked and missed her by inches as she crossed into the traffic.
She stood, perfectly still in the beam of golden light and let it fill her body through the top of her head. Her eyes focused downward on the return address of the envelope. The surge of spinning green light inside her chest pulsated at the sight of that familiar handwriting. Another tectonic plate dislodged from her frame, her left leg this time, and tumbled upwards towards the empty spot in the sky. I gathered up this bit of her and locked it into its place on myself.
Cars flew past her—coming so close from all directions that her thin dress blew about from the rushing wind of the near fatal collisions. She was positioned in the exact spot where if she stayed perfectly still no car would strike her. The golden light poured over and through her in the midst of the chaos.
She opened the letter and unfolded the single page. Tears streamed freely from her eyes as she read the greeting:
La femme de ma vie,
Another piece of her broke free and flew up into the sky. Her fingers gently stroked the rest of the words as tears continued to fall onto the page, soaking into the ink and obscuring the exact poetry of our love.
Her red hair blew wildly about in the flurry of rushing cars and honking horns. She paid attention only the page in her hand. Blue flames flared in her irises as they scanned the words, consuming letters and the feelings they carried as she stood stoic in the street.
More pieces of her broke free and rose to meet the rest of herself as I assembled her in the sky. With every new piece of her that grafted onto me the light projecting downwards to earth became brighter and more intense.
All that remained of her was the right half of her face, shoulder, arm, and hand holding the letter. Her hair flew desperately in the center of the traffic, illuminated by the warm golden light now burning onto the earth. Her tears were floating upwards in the rush of wind, carrying words with them—the puzzle of a decade of feelings reassembling into a meaning much more powerful in the light.
The page burst into bright blue flames that climbed up her arm, over her shoulder, and consumed her hair as the final piece of her tumbled upwards into the sky. I gathered her close to us and fitted her into place on the pulsing orb of golden light that we had become.
As her last piece locked into place she ceased to be as she had been—as did I. We became fused in the golden light, we had returned home. We became home. I became whole, again.
The words from the letter circled across the surface of our light. Now given the freedom of forever they rearranged into truth. Together, I read this message—
Before, in the beginning
there was only light
in the beginning
there was only love
We were one,
vibration in synchronicity
We were never separate
We are love
We are whole
I am love
I am infinite
I am home
I am at my start
I am beginning