A Red So Deep

The Mutant King

Sleep, my sweetie, let the days expire

They've outnumbered you

Hold me sweetly

Like those days we bled with love

A red so deep we sunk

We sunk.


The beginning of the day reminded her of most days of her childhood. The rays of sun seemed to slice through the windows. Even the house was similar. The radiators were flaked with paint and the bathtub had feet. It was really the lavatory that took her back to most days of her childhood, anyway.

She could see herself putting on the high heels (they almost fit) and applying the lipstick perfectly, as she'd seen her mother do. She would look in the mirror, and see the plain shower curtain reflected behind her, and she just wouldn't feel it.

She couldn't see herself in her body – she couldn't see herself in her name. "Magda!" her mother would call from the hallway, on most days of her childhood. She'd inherited her name from her grandmother – her mother's mother. Her mother had hated her mother, and not once in her life did she pretend that she loved her. Once, at a large Christmas party where there wasn't enough seating and Magda was on her mother's lap, it had suddenly occurred to her that she was named after a person her mother loathed. It occurred to her because she did not see her grandmother at the party – in fact, she had not been at any parties, but she was well aware that her grandmother was alive and healthy.

Slowly, Magda looked up at her mother and inquired - so that she was sure her mother would hear, "Why did you name me after someone you don't respect?" Her mother hadn't answered. And at the time, Magda was not surprised. Her mother was filled with little unexplained contradictions like that. One time she had told Magda to pray even if she didn't believe – because nobody truly believed, she said. And on most days of her childhood, Magda would wonder why a person would so anything that they didn't believe in.

At the sound of her name, Magda would peak out of the creaking bathroom door, which had been closed. Her mother would laugh when she saw her daughter's tiny face. She would promptly go into the bathroom and retrieve her tube of lipstick, which was usually placed carefully on the side of the sink next to the soap.

She would shake the tube in the air and say, "Magda, we shouldn't share make-up. Who knows what diseases can be transmitted through lipstick?" and then she would laugh again. And that's how it was most days of Magda's childhood.

She'd lived in the south back then, and she remembered it being sunny mostly every day, though it probably had not been. The sight of the sun rays that were so perfect they almost looked solid (Magda would often reach for them, expecting them to be) had been nothing special on most days of her childhood. Young Magda did not know that the nostalgia of the high heels, the lipstick, and the shower curtain would make the sun seem like everything to her. Instead of reaching for the rays, though, middle-aged Magda imagined them to be popsicles, which she could just lick until they disappeared. Perhaps they'd taste like pineapple, or banana, or lime. And nothing made her happier, that morning that reminded her of most days of her childhood, than fruit flavored sunshine.

Middle-aged Magda walked to the bathroom smiling, cigarette in hand, and lipstick freshly applied. She assembled sitting on the toilet and snubbing out her cigarette on the edge of the bathroom trash can into one graceful movement. The hem of her dress touched the rim of the toilet. She saw the bathtub's feet, but she was thinking about the sunshine.

And suddenly she felt something odd. Something she knew she'd never felt before. And she panicked. She panicked because she'd exhausted every other option in her mind in one quick second. Panic was the last thing to come out of her. And it felt natural.

She pried her legs apart and stared into the toilet, which would have gone on forever if not for the bright heaps of red. And it literally was heaps. Clots and piles and heaps.

And suddenly she couldn't breathe. She'd taken in the last breath too quickly, the tears being sucked in with it, and it had gotten stuck. She stood up, and was steady for a moment. Unfortunately, the moment passed before Magda had time to even realize it had been a moment. She fell, and lightly hit her head on the bath tub. It was enough to black her out.

She woke up ten minutes later, bleeding. She felt as if she'd been asleep for hours, but it didn't take her any time at all to process what was going on. Immediately she started weeping. The tears came out in heaps, just like the red had. And when the tears weren't enough, she began screaming, "Why me?! What in the hell is fucking going on!? Again, and again and again! Always. I just want something to love me, I just want…"

This same experience had happened to Magda many times, taking on many different forms. Never had she imagined it would happen quite like it had. The toilet, and the bathtub's feet, and the heaps of red – it had never happened in that fashion before.

When nobody answered her screams, not even the woman who lived in the apartment upstairs, Magda drug her face across the bathroom carpet, so as to wipe her tears, and stood up. She stumbled to her bedroom, feeling drunk, and that is where she laid and bled for the rest of the beautiful day that reminded her so much of most of her childhood days.