Take me home, beautiful—take me home.
I speak your name on my tongue as though it is fruit yet to be tasted. As cotton candy flows from between my lips, whispering of the deviant urgency of my love, I reach out to you in the hopes that somehow, someway, you will answer.
You are an amazing, beautiful creature.
Please—don’t ever let me go.
A woman is standing at the doorway. She is not my mother, but someone who shows just as much, if not more, concern. Though I cannot see her, and though she is standing on the other side of the door, I see her hand rise. Her knuckles curl in preparation for the act she is about to partake in. It is beautiful, what she wants to do, but it’s something that cannot, nor ever will, happen.
Some would go as far to say that she loves me.
I cannot begin to believe in such things.
To believe in love from another person is to commit acts worse than polygamy.
My love is for you, only you.
I have known you for all the years of my life. There is little you do not know about me, as there is little I do not know about you. You know that my name is Jennifer, that I’m five-foot-five and weigh one-hundred pounds. You know that I am currently classified under the American Psychological Association as having anorexia. They say that there is no cure, that there is no one and no thing that can free you from the hold it has on your body. They say it is a chameleon, changing from day to day, month to month, year to year. They say it is a silent killer that is born in your mind when someone tells you something you should never hear, something that no mother or grandmother would ever want their daughter or granddaughter to imagine.
They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
The woman who is not my mother and not my friend returns the next day. To her, it would be Tuesday, but to me, it would be Friday. Friday is a day where things are supposed to end, where stress becomes less and less becomes chess. There is not much to do on a Friday, but the anticipation of Saturday leaves you well and willing. On Fridays, girls go to prom and boys masturbate for mom. Girls listen to what Daddy says and boys listen to what Mommy says. As Cinderella bends over, waiting to take it up the ass, and as Prince Charming waits for the Fairy Godmother to straddle, then impale herself on him, old men love their wives and admire their grandchildren.
Friday is a beautiful time.
If only some would play for dimes.
Outside, the woman who is not my friend raises her hand.
Bellaerama touches my shoulder.
Roll over, she says.
Dead, I do.
She touches my lips and makes me breathe.
I cannot live without your eyes.
Slowly, I push myself forward.
Outside, the woman who is not my friend curls her fingers.
Carefully, I crawl out of bed.
Outside, the woman who is not my friend knocks on the door.
She has broken the pact.
It must be done.
Stepping forward, I open the door and stare at her face. She is ugly—old, wrinkled, gnarled by age and destroyed by sage. There is little she has not seen in life. She has been to every continent, every world, every galaxy. She has seen every man, woman, bird and child lie. Likewise, she has seen them die. It is the nature for her to come.
Bellaerama, she says.
I shake my head.
Bellaerama, she repeats.
I shake my head.
No, I say, again.
The woman who is not my friend opens her mouth. Though ready to speak she is, what is is not ready to speak. Instead, a light begins to shine. It is beautiful—glorious, even, with all the colors of the rainbow and everything in between. There are things wrong with this rainbow. It is black, white, grey—all the ugly colors in the world.
This woman is not Bellaerama. She is not my friend.
Bellaerama, the woman wants to say.
Before she can, I shake my head.
No, I say.
I close the door.
The woman who is not my friend is gone.
Bellaerama comes to bed at six o’clock, like she does every night. It is with open arms and peace of mind that I accept her. She is the happiness that always exists, the essence between my lips. She is the maker of fakers and the faker of makers. She is the one. She is mine.
Doll, she whispers.
She always whispers. It is her way. Should she speak too loudly, others might hear and try to come. The woman who is not my friend comes often. She has experienced Bellaerama, has come to know her in ways strangers do when exchanging names and numbers. She has tasted things that she should not have tasted. She is one. She is many. In the end, she is all the same.
Those who cannot have always want.
The woman who is not my friend wants Bellaerama.
What? I say.
Taste me, she replies.
Dawn is the greatest tribulation. It is when men try to rise from bed, only to fall instead. It is when women wake, only to shake. It is when children scream and babies dream. It is a time when all is well when the rest is hell. It is a time when things begin to dwell.
Dawn is the greatest time.
I wake with a need—for the greatest, utmost greed.
Bellaerama is standing in the corner of the room.
She looks up only when I rise.
Doll, she says,
Come, I cry.
She steps forward, but almost immediately stops. A barrier exists between us that should not, but does. It’s a cruel, uneven aspect of the world, but it is something that cannot be done.
Reaching forward, I take her in my hands and hold her close.
Don’t worry, I say. I’ll get you out.
The woman who is not my friend is standing outside my door.
Bellaerama wants her gone.
There’s something you can do, she says.
What is it? I ask.
You know what it is.
I need little more than look over my shoulder to see what she has planned. In her hand she holds a hammer.
She won’t leave, Bellaerama says.
She will, I say.
No, Bellaerama says. She won’t.
Looking down, I take a moment to contemplate the situation, then make a decision.
Reaching forward, I take the hammer in hand.
The woman who is not my friend cannot try to be my friend anymore.
I open the door.
The woman who is not my friend looks up.
Bellaerama? she says.
I shake my head.
No, I say. Never again.
I raise my hand.
As she has done before, I curl my knuckles.
A moment later, I knock.
It is not the door I knock.
It is her head.
I knock as many times as I can—repeatedly, endlessly, over and over again.
The woman who is not my friend is dead.
Bellaerama is mine.
Bellaerama, I say.
She stands in the corner of the room, watching me from the barrier that exists between the two of us. I’ve fallen. I can’t get up. She is unable to help me in my time of need.
Cotton candy flows from between my lips.
When I close my eyes—when the world goes black and I begin to believe I’ll never return—she is there for me.