Evelyn entered the room, holding an empty bottle of Corona with amber insides and glass eyes unfeeling. She had circular doe's eyes, round like pendulous droplets of amber that the Corona bottle held. Her arms were held like delicate white poles at her sides, while her hips were a deep and pale canyon that filled with blood, and her lips were colorless with misery and the silence that marred the pink walls of the room.
The song died on her mother's lips as she licked the last from the glass mouth of the bottle. Michelle could not look into those eyes, those eyes of cold and dead innocence, and those eyes that had betrayed a flesh ridden man with lips like plagues and cheekbones painted with vivid eccentricity. She could not look upon the bitter lips of the woman who had whispered the words unto his puckered and tearful ears, those two words of severance and hateful lonely roads. "Don't follow."
"Michelle," her mother's voice broke in her throat like a china doll with a shattered left wrist. The look in her bruised eyes was unbearable, filled with unwanted blue memories that rushed with the flood of tears and rain outside. "He's gone."
Had her mother been estranged as well? Had she cried into a bloodstained sketchbook when the night carried on, and slept in ungodly gutters and streets stricken with rain and red water? The vermillion scars now came down her cheeks like rivers, crashing through the clockwork facade of black mascara and rouge that masked her forehead's lines.
It was no relief to Michelle; there would be another. Wolves traveled in graying packs of hairless shame, grinding their yellowing fangs with eyes like plumes of hell off of the devil's red top hat. And when those bright and thunderous eyes caught sight of pallid skinned prey, they pounced upon it, ripping their teeth along its bleeding nipples and pink skinned belly.
"Let me see your wrist." Evelyn's mascara was running now, far across her face and over her ink stained lips. Was it God that had slit her eyelids with concern? Did she hold that serpentine pistol to her temple every time that rain slashed the brittle sides of the trailer like wild and angry vagabonds? Did her mother live in a world of black and blue, where people held signs of silence and painted gasoline on their cheekbones? Were their eyelids cut with a curved razor so they could never again hide the colorless blaze of their quiet reality behind black lids?
Michelle could see her mother's nipples lay puckered and bruised beneath the soft linen of her shirt. She grimaced as she imagined his dark fingers twisting the tender pink globes, cringing as his memory grabbed violently at her breasts, teething upon her supple tits and sucking angrily from her milky spouts.
"Your wrist," she said again, her voice a choke in her throat that was seemingly forged of glass. Evelyn held out a pale and beaten hand, like a beautiful but warped statue. Michelle was reluctant, and yet not. Her mind fought solely against her heart, pounding sense into the blood that boiled and curled like a brittle backed serpent. She hesitated with lungs that were sharp with ocean sand, though her sanity lay unbroken and unclean. Her wrist was feverish and misshapen in a few places, and it sat awkward looking in her mother's torn palm. The touch of her tips upon blazing flesh was almost reassuring and soothing to Michelle, and she felt a smile twitch at the corners of her dried lip. Her mother was no nurse, just an empty figure with a red cross on her chest. Her heart was never worn brazen on her sleeve, but was kept tucked and hidden in secretive places and thigh-shaped valleys.
Evelyn's eyes were closed now, and her lashes left her crystal tears unguided and bold. They glimmered like fallen stars on her cheeks, puncturing her ashen skin that rolled with effortless milky hills. Her lips were frightened little children with darkened eyes, but her chin quivered with empty vigilance and strange fear. Her ribcage caught a rising, and it blinded her doe's eyes with black paint. She grabbed Michelle bodily, and pulled her quickly to her aching breast, striving for the little girl's forgiveness.
Michelle could no longer think; her mind was wriggling with worries and deceit painted orange, but her mother's hair smelled like red love and summer orchards, and the raw sobs that stung Evelyn's nipples seemingly spread to Michelle's puckered eyes and bloody lips. They sat holding on, clutching nothing and everything, as deep colored paint clotted between her mother's lower thighs. There was nothing outside, and nothing inside; the world was painted blatant for the moment that sat frozen and everlasting.
The trailer park blazed blue and black, with bruised driveways that sat toothless and sweaty with housewives' purple fluids. Some stairways were unmarred and tacked with rubber welcome mats, pleading with perhaps a God for a better mask or purpose. Some trailers sat well groomed like little puppies, drooling happily with glimmering sprinklers and waterlogged cactuses that bloomed pink and brown. And some people sat content in their plastic yard chairs, admiring the work about the clouds and calling out frequently to friendly neighbors. But others were not so. Others sat on spokes of rust and mold, with collapsed bottoms that sprained metallic water when the floods came through. Others had parkways that lay overgrown like thick eyed jungles, and had plants that were un-watered, unseeded, and dried up in shriveled piles in the dirt.
But the far dirtiest of the trailers was the infamous Beluga, with clouded windows and dented hairless stairs. Most of the yard was unshaven, and held exotic plants with tired leaves and eyes that grew and shrouded the walkway to the stairs. The driveway was empty today, faceless like a white hot iron, very much like the weather in midday.
Michelle stood with her sketchbook under a freckled arm, surveying the mess. The trailer needed a new coat of white paint, and maybe a scrubbing around its leaky corners. The windows needed to be replaced, and the door was about off of its hinges. Everything was blotted with the blood of August; a stinging case of thick black mold on the lawn, the black rust that spread like an epidemic on the hide of the poor little Beluga, and the holes that were punctured into the pale sides of the trailer; mostly from the man's unspeakable anger.
Evelyn emerged from the trailer's front with a large canvas bag. Her hair was flung down below her shoulders, knotted at the roots and twisted at the bottom. Her makeup was a torrent of black, and her flesh lay curling and greasy. She bit her bottom lip now and again, but offered a smile to Michelle as the morning bloomed.
Their stroll to the Laundromat was endearing, where thick stoned pathways led hideaways to an unknown earth. Palm trees wandered in the heat like stuck pigs and old hunched backed men, scratching at infected tits and wrists gorged of August. Couples passed by with pink lips flapping excitedly, whispering around cornerstones and flagpoles that stood erect and bloody. Michelle watched her reflection as she and her mother passed beyond a brightly lit window, one that withheld dark and sexual privileges. Magazines were set up scantily and hastily against the glass, cover's glowing with the fake smiles of metal clad models. She grinned faintly as she stood with her pink nose pressed, but it faded when Evelyn took her by the arm and pulled her from the gleaming sex ads that lay dormant and sleeping behind crystalline doors.
The Laundromat was a small little place with the strange word Jerusalem painted over its ungodly and unframed entrance. The door was etched in sky blue and white, with chips and peels littering the surface and handle. Its doormat was balding like an old man's head, and the welcome was barely noticeable against the dirt and grime that caked it black.
The man at the counter wore a collared shirt, with a few yellow flowers poking meekly out of his white shirt pocket. He grinned feebly as Evelyn slapped the bag on the countertop, the zipper clinking against the chipped and toothless glass.
"That'll be all, ma'am?" his accent was stiff and southern, and it seemed to displease him as Evelyn nodded. His forehead was fissured with tanned age lines, like a horizon gone gold and solid brown. He held a weathered hand out, and she twisted the thick bills in her hand as she wistfully handed them over. The smile on Michelle's face finally fell.
Her mother paced while the laundry swirled round, catching currents of pink bubbles and deep blue liquid. Michelle pressed her round face to the clear little circle; the spherical doorway that held the ocean of soap and dirty laundry behind glass arms.
A thick scent began to slide under her nose, curling round her nostril hairs and bending their surprised mouths into small smiles. What strange smell was this, such a smell that twisted her very breath and made her feel thin fingers about her bloodied arms? Could it be that a God, an odd and indifferent God with a thick mane of fire sat smoking long and stiff eyed cigarettes behind her, letting the scents whirl her senses, until she realized the very truth behind her and turned her face?