Odi et Amo

By Nausikaa

No, no—it will never do. Who do you think you are to gallivant around dressed like that? Thinking it will make you more memorable, unique. Dear, you're so dull even a suit of tin wouldn't give you personality. You are what you dress, but you should dress who you are. That beret is a suicide note begging for attention. Act your age! And stop sobbing, for God's sake; take it all off. I don't care that you've had a rotten week; it's your fault for not standing up for yourself. You really are disgusting. And you better wash your face before someone spots you. You wouldn't want Kevin to see you crying like a baby, would you?

Now stand up straight, shoulders back. Jesus, when was the last time you shaved? Don't give me excuses. Do it now, or Kevin will think he's screwing a gorilla. Make sure not to miss a spot. I know how clumsy you are.

Your arms! What freak shaves their arms? Do you really want your friends to laugh at you again? Just do what you're told and you might be able to creep through life unnoticed. You better let Kevin do what he likes with you tonight. He's been antsy lately, and you don't want to lose him. You're not getting any younger, you know. You say you want kids but you're not acting like it. At least this one isn't an alcoholic.

Look at me—ignore that girl. All her dreams were hopeless fancies. Forget her. Shove her into a corner. I suggest the thong sandals and the black skirt. You should throw out the rest. The make you look like a whore. But not that one either, Kevin will think you're his grandmother, goodness's sake. Have you got the protection? Good. You know he hates it when you forget, and it's not like he's going to remember himself. You don't want a repeat of last month, do you? He was so angry I thought he was going to hit us, before he stomped off. And what a pathetic display; hanging by your fingertips onto his shirt, like some kind of insect. Begging him; please, we could go without. Of course, he's got two kids he's paying child support for already—you think he wants more expenses? You don't deserve him, you know. You really are stupid, and boring, and ugly, just like he said. Oh, stop weeping. You've set the child off again. She's crying over what you've become. But tears don't solve anything, honey. Now kindly be unseen, and not heard either. Even if you lift your hand, the teacher's not going to notice. Nobody ever has.

Finally, the piece de resistance; the mask. Foundation and blush and eyeliner and gloss, maybe lipstick. Can't go out without your face. Tonight you'll wash it away with tears and vodka down the kitchen sink, put it on the nightstand for a special occasion. If we rub and buff hard enough, maybe you'll be good enough. Don't forget the anti-aging cream, don't forget you're getting older. Smear. Pat, pat, pat, pat. Leave it too late; you'll never be a mummy. You'll fail at that, just like everything else. TICK TOCK TICK TOCK TICK.

There, now you're complete. A living doll with a living mask. Good enough to eat. Oh love, don't cry. You'll smear all your lovely make-up. Such a beautiful pattern, mascara smeared into a butterfly wing. How clever, lipstick distending perpendicular to your chin. Oh, darling- come here. Rest your arms around me. Kiss me. Isn't it strange how the world is contained by a field of glass? This is a prison, but who is the visitor? You or me, it's all the same. We both watch on silently. Can't communicate. Decibels cannot penetrate the cold hard iron bars of a cage. All our lives clowns in white coats have been watching behind the one-way mirror, tricked us into believing reality was real. The glass is cold, so cold.

What good timing—Kevin is here. What a stupid expression on his face! How he stares at us! Oh darling; how ugly we are. Crush your lips to mine, obliterate yourself. I am the only one who will ever love you.