Title: A Jackson Pollack Painting
Warnings: mild homosexuality
Archiving: Go right ahead, just let me know where it is.
Feedback: Can I bribe you? Please review. It'd mean a lot to me, and if it doesn't happen, I die.
Disclaimer: This story, and it's characters and properties are copyrigh Crazywriter
Author's note: My attempt at a descriptive story. And because of that, review to tell me what you think. Kind of new at this descriptive stuff.
She rolls over, groaning with tiredness, a roar meant to banish the last few fingers of sleep that clung to her courageously. They hang on so she pulls herself into a sitting position, a last ditch effort, which works as she hits her head too hard against the off-white drywall. She squints as a stripe of sunlight blasts her eyes, making a blindfold of light. It occurs to her that the stripes of sunlight on the wall behind her look kind of like prison bars, but she's not quite sure why she has this thought.
She glances over to the pillow next to her, half expecting to see a head of silky black hair, streaked with purple and red, like a Jackson Pollack painting, but it's not there, just like she knew it wouldn't be. But that knowing never stopped her from wanting it there. Not that it mattered, the only head that might have been on the pillow was a sleepy blonde she met at the club the night before, but she knew the blonde wouldn't be there either, the blonde had an eight o' clock class.
She considers sliding back under the fortress of black sheets and comforter and snagging another hour or so of sleep, but she resists instead. Half-blind, she fingers the nightstand, reaching for glasses. She feels them and puts them one. They're strange glasses, with one lens blue and the other red. 3D glasses for a world that would be 3D anyway. She turns off the digital alarm clock that hasn't gone off yet, because as usual she woke up five minutes before. The red numbers seem to glare at her, bright red eyes peeking out from the black, plastic fortress, daring her to go back to sleep.
She starts to get up, wincing slightly as her warm feet hit the cold hardwood floor, as she feels around with her toes for a pair of blue and gray plaid slippers she knows should be there. She finds them finally, ending the ice age on her now cold feet. Standing up, she grabs a white terrycloth robe and starts to shuffle towards the bathroom.
On the way out of her room, she catches a glimpse of herself in the mirror, and she stops a second to examine her reflection. It's obvious she just got up from a night of sex, she realizes, noting her outfit of just a robe. There's a small streak of lipstick on her ear, and another on the shoulder the robe has slipped slightly from. There's the start of a hickey on her neck, but it'll be gone in another hour, so she won't have to endure teasing from friends who wouldn't even have the chance to get a hickey from a pretty girl, so realizing that, she wonders fleetingly why they tease her. She doesn't think it's jealousy.
She cocks her head at her reflection, feeling a strange sort of self-scrutiny. She likes the way she looks, she knows that much. She's an attractive enough sort, right sexy if you ask her. She's a bit on the short end, and a little stocky, but she thinks that's good enough for a butch like her. If you caught her on one of her feminine moments, she would tell you she could stand to lose five or ten pounds, but on mornings like this, she's perfectly happy the way she is. Sure it's cliched, but she this is who she is. She likes who she is, she's the perfect Toni Fenwick.
Because that's who she is.
She shakes her head and smiles at the reflection before heading on into the adjacent bathroom. The sunlight reflecting off the white ceramic tile hurts her eyes slightly, but not too much, and the slippers protect her from the cold floor, a force-field of fleece and foam soles. She stands in front of the mirror and scrutinizes herself again. She shrugs and reaches to turn on one of the metal taps that sparkle in the sunlight with their fake silver finish. Water flows from it, a small waterfall in the sink and she gratefully scoops up handfuls to splash on her face. The cold water jolts her to reality, and she finally succeeds in destroying those fingers of sleep. She grabs a piece of soap, not a bar, really just a piece, a small fragment of a bar that grew too small to be used for showering, and the runs the green piece over a dampened navy blue washcloth. She starts to scrub her face, wiping away the lipstick from the girl last night's frantic kisses. She moves down to her neck, wiping away more lipstick, but also smears of blush and mascara from the times in the night the girl's head was buried in her neck and shoulder, muffling screams and moans.
She splashes more water on her face, washing away the lining of soap and grime, and then dries her face on a white hand towel that looks like it should be fluffy, but isn't because the last time she did laundry, she forgot to put in fabric softener. But that doesn't really matter, she'll be doing laundry in the next few days again anyway.
She pauses a second to runs her hands cover her now dry face, enjoying it's smooth and blemish free feel. She picks up a toothbrush and goes to wet it, but notices it's already damp. The blonde must have used her toothbrush in her hurry to get to class. This doesn't bother her, she examined the blonde's mouth quite thoroughly the night before, and is secure in it's sanitation. She wets the toothbrush again, rinsing it before squeezing out a sluglike bit of Colgate out of the tube. She thinks about what a strange ritual it is to brush her teeth, because it's the one thing she's done her whole life. She wonders how many hours she's spent brushing her teeth, six minutes a day since she was old enough to have teeth, so that could add up to a lot, but the thoughts are gone as she starts to spit the paste back into the porcelain sink. She fills a Dixie cup with water and rinses, swishing the water around in her mouth before spitting it out, and then she throws the paper cup away. She wonders if this is really that wasteful, and she decides that it is, but she also decides she doesn't care.
She looks up at the small bathroom mirror and runs a finger through her long, blonde hair. Her hair is past her shoulders, down to the small of her back, and it's the one of the many things she's quite vain about. She admits it's strange to be a butch and have long hair, but she wouldn't trade it for the world. She'll readily admit she's a narcissist, because everyone knows how in love with her own image she is. 'I want to be someone else,' she said once, totally out of the blue at lunch in the college's Caf with her friends, 'because then I could date me.'
She pulls the locks of hair back into a long ponytail down her back. There are a few stray bits of hair, so she reaches for her hair gel. She never would have used hair gel once, but she doesn't care anymore, besides, the slicked back look makes her look a bit more like Billy Idol, and well, girls like Billy Idol.
She studies her work in the mirror, gazing over her handsome face, smirking with a flawless smile. She notices her eyes staring back at her, the brilliant blue with specks of brown in them, that the blonde from last night told her looked like islands in the ocean. Well, what would you expect someone to say? She, the blonde, was a bohemian kind of chick, the kind that wanted to be a hippie, but didn't quite want to enough.
Satisfied, she starts back into her bedroom. Her bedroom is immaculate, which her roommate at high school boarding school said was the first sign she planned to get herself laid. Something about not wanting girls to see a messy room and the roommate was right. She bends down to pick discarded garments up off the floor and shove them in the hamper. She pulls the black leather wallet out of her dirty black jeans, but she drops it. The contents spill out, all over the smooth wood floor. As she kneels to pick it up, she thinks about what someone might say if they found her wallet, filled with credit cards, and IDs, and girl's phone numbers, and a ticket stub for The Ring. And then her eyes fall on the only picture in her wallet, a smiling photo of that girl, the one who's hair she wanted to see on the pillow this morning, not the blonde, the one she wanted. Gabrielle, was her name, Gabrielle... it sounded kind of like a prayer, Toni thinks. A prayer to a god they both needed to believe in. She runs a fingertip over the picture absent-mindedly, smiling nostalgically as she looks at the beautiful hair Gabi had, and Toni smiles widely as she sees not just streaks of red and purple, but also a dash of blue here or there. Gabi's hair really was how Toni always described it… a Jackson Pollack painting, dashes of color thrown all over the canvas of black hair.
She realizes suddenly that if someone found her wallet, they'd probably think she was still with Gabi, that Gabi hadn't left four months ago when she transferred out to a different college, leaving her all alone. The thought upset her slightly, and she shoves the picture back in the wallet along with the cash and credit cards, and the driver's license with a bad picture, and a student ID with a good picture. She sets the wallet on the top of a small bookcase, filled with worn and read books, most bought secondhand at the campus bookstore. If you looked closer at the beaten up spines of the books, you'd see books you'd think she'd never read. Volumes and volumes of philosophy and political theory, books of sonnets and plays, and even a few books that made New York Times Best Sellers, and way down on the end, the complete set of Harry Potter.
She walks over to the dresser, and pulls out a clean pair of black jeans and a loose black T-shirt that reads, I Kiss Girls. It's a new T-shirt, but she had one like it before. She lost it on her last trip to Des Moines for a writing convention. She left it in a hotel room of a fleabag hotel that wasn't the one she'd booked a room to sleep in, but just spend a few hours with a strikingly beautiful brunette, who probably had the shirt. But maybe it was worth losing the shirt for a few hours in a hotel she'd never be caught dead vacationing in with a woman she'd never be caught dead introducing to her mother. But she liked the shirt, so she bought a new one. It wasn't really that big of deal.
She pulls the pants on and tucks the shirt in and reaches to the top of the dresser for her belt and her fingers brush a rook on the chess set on top of the dresser. It's a beautiful chess set, and it's important to her because it was a graduation gift from her father. The pieces are made of a clear crystal and an unclear crystal, and the board is down in mirrors and crystal. She smiles at herself when she catches a glance of herself in the mirrored pieces. She grabs the belt and notices something else on the dresser.
She smirks faintly to herself as she fingers the panties of the girl last night. It's a pink lacy number, but there's something about it that gets to her. She reads a small note from the girl.
Toni- had to run to class, but want to see you soon. Give me a call, 345-9876. I had a great time, Mindy.
She smiles in amusement when she see the 'i's dotted with hearts, and she leaves the note and panties on the dresser, even though she knows she won't ever call Mindy for sex again, it's just not the way she goes about things anymore.
She hears the phone ringing, and walks over to grab a black cordless phone off her desk. It's a girl, not the blonde Mindy, but another one named Jayna, a girl she knows from Calc class, wanting to come over tonight and study. She talks to her absently, as she pays more attention to the paper on the titanium iBook open on her desk, it's a half finished paper for one of her polisci classes on the formation of Marxian Communism. In the end, Jayna's definitely coming over, but they both know it's just a front for sex… and neither of them really care.
Hanging up with Jayna, her elbow knocks over the only picture on her desk, and she wonders if she should pick it up, but she does anyway and finds herself staring again at her Jackson Pollack girl. She always smiles at first when she sees Gabi's picture, because the memory of just the smiling art student is a good one for her, but the smile always fades because she has to remember that Gabi's gone, and that hurts. Toni likes to think she doesn't let herself think about Gabi much anymore, but that'd be a lie. She doesn't let herself stop to think about Gabi, but Gabi is a spectre invading her mind always. She slides in and out of memories, but she never stays long, just like when they were dating.
That's a bitter statement, and Toni's not really bitter, at least not at Gabi. Maybe she's bitter at the situation, hell, she knows she is, but never at Gabi. Like Toni would sigh and say to concerned friends, there were just too many things going against it, and it was for the best, and there really wasn't much other choice, and blah, blah, blah. Toni didn't believe it that much was sure.
There had been a solution, there had been one easy clear solution. Toni could have asked Gabi to stay, but she didn't… and really, she couldn't have. She knew Gabi would have stayed if she had asked her to, but she also knew it would be the wrong thing to do if she asked Gabi. Asking Gabi would have been wrong, that was the bottom line.
They always asked if maybe she had secretly wanted Gabi to go, and that hurt. Of course she didn't want Gabi to go, but if Gabi had stayed, Gabi wouldn't have been happy. And if Gabi wasn't happy, Toni wouldn't have been.
Gabi's mother had been sick, breast cancer, not terminal, but still. So Gabi had to go, Toni knew that. It was killing her to have to leave her mother at the end of each weekend.
And if Toni had asked her to stay, Gabi would have, but Toni would have felt guilty, and Gabi would have felt guilty about not being with her mother, and they'd have bother started to resent each other for it. So in the end, they'd have been in just as much pain. At leas this way, the pain would go away eventually. Toni was convinced of this, that that eventually it would all stop hurting.
Toni sets down Gabi's picture and sighs, a small lament she gives once or twice everyday on the subject. Busying herself to clear her head, she shuts down and closes the iBook and shoves it in her black backpack, along with a notebook and a few books, Intermediate Business Law, Advanced Public Speaking, and Calc. She grabs her black leather jacket of the desk chair it was slung over and pulls it on. She stops in front of the mirror one last time, and reaffirms to herself how good she looks… it is true after all, girls do like Billy Idol.
And more importantly, girls like Toni. There were girls, there were always gonna be girls. She smiles, thinking of Amber, who she was meeting for lunch, the girl who sat behind her in Public Speaking. She thinks of the blonde, and of all the girls before her, and then she thinks for a second how lucky she is to have so many beautiful girls in her life. How lucky she is to be happy and surrounded by people.
But one last look at the picture of the Gabi hits her with a realization she has everyday, and it never gets any easier. It's almost unbearable as her gaze drifts over to the pillow that she knows will never be covered like a Jackson Pollack painting again, and Toni realizes she's wrong. She is broken, and she is alone.