Today is Friday. I know that because the shrill ring of the bell could be heard for at least two blocks and I saw her emerge from the school building and turn left down Merseyside. She only follows this path on Fridays. She never blends in with a crowd, but instead holds her own special aura. As all the small bodies ran from the school building, eager faces ready to devour sweets or go ride bikes over the forgotten remains of summer's past, she always stood out. I always know the corner to wait at for her to emerge. There is a red sign with the word "Stop" painted upon it, with a string of profanity likely left behind by a different artist. I like red.
She never rides a bike like the other little ones. I used to find it unusual. Many of these kids were spoiled. Growing up in the same little heartlands of suburbia, they all hand bikes shiny enough to reflect their smiling faces, false manifestations of happiness so that the neighbors never question the angry voices heard late at night. I know how they feel. I was there once, but precious little suburbia would not welcome someone like me. I could never live in the hotbed of homogeny. In a way, the fact that she never rode some shiny bike made her seem all the more pure, as if she was immune to the charades of society.
I follow her slowly down Merseyside. She is always easy to spot. She has this little red jacket that is always molded to her body like a second skin. It was a magnificent ruby, a close companion to the silky strands of her hair and the rosy nature of her cheeks. This jacket is always with her. The only other thing she carriers is a tan backpack, slightly worn away to the point where her name is barely visible. I have seen her so much yet I do not really know that name, perhaps she should be called Emily. I think she looks like an Emily. Her face reminds me of one I have not seen in years. It was just as innocent and rosy. She never really looks behind her but instead marches on, focused on one direction. The hood of the jacket stays firmly upon her silky curls. I like red. It is such a beautiful color.
She stands out like a little ruby beacon, beckoning me to come forward and continue this dance that has ensued for the past few months. I was always the spectator, resorting to watching my partner from afar. Now I plan to seek out my little beacon. It has been far too long and the temptation too great. My shuffling gait barely keeps up with her quick little legs but today I have no intention to stroll down Merseyside. I will simply wait for her at the dead house.
I cut down a few rotting side roads, long forgotten by the polished feet of those who matter. The house slowly came into view, looming on the horizon. There was always something eerie about this house. It didn't shine with a bright welcoming face like the other houses in the neighborhood. That's why I call it the dead house. It has peeling paint, the color of a rotting log. The shingles are barely there and the windows are fogged, as if to block out the outside world. What used to be a garden is now a jungle of vines tangled into a painful mass. The house screams of loss. It never brightens till she gets there. Only one person actually lives in the dead house. Its patron is old, long past her years of youthful splendor. She sits in a stationary chair most days, in front of a loom that looks like it has never been touched, at least not since the pitter-patter of little feet left this place long ago. Little red is the only one who bothers with this old crone, bringing a backpack full of sweets to this decrepit place every Friday. I can't stand this house. There's no red.
Getting into the house was no problem. The door would bend easily to any will. It surrendered instantly to my touch, the old hinges forcing themselves to bend. I had no fear of noise. The crone's hearing likely died out along with the house years ago. In many ways I took pity upon her. She was small and frail. Like me, she was a creature forgotten long ago by a society that has evolved only for the fit. Now she is useless. I pulled out my Jack and made it quick. I left her propped up in her little chair, in front of the old loom. The strings of life were much thinner now. I never really liked her. She has no red.
I wait in a corner of this old room. There is a closet that fits me just fine. I wait until I finally hear the sound of little feet crunching over the rotten garden. The vines always welcomed her. The feet soon approach closer, the old wood creaking under the intrusion. I lie in wait. I know that she will come to this room. The footsteps draw closer. I hear the doorknob twist slowly. As I take a peek from my hiding place a see a flash of red. She's here! Finally here! I cannot help myself. The need to appear before this perfect creature is too great. She walks into the room and looks upon the frozen crone. The old woman makes no sound.
The only thing that is heard is shallow breathing underneath the red hood. The red has taken on a different luster now. The color is loud. In my eyes it was bright, the most beautiful light I have ever seen. For a moment it is so silent that I swear my heart could be heard thundering in my chest. I couldn't wait. Another little heart could be heard fluttering nearby. I crept out of the closet as her back was turned. She removed the red hood, revealing the mass of silky curls. She let out a small whimper and turned around as the floorboards creaked underneath me. My form loomed over her, casting a deep shadow in the small room. I stood in front of the door with my prize standing before me.
For a moment I was truly in awe. She was so red. It was truly beautiful. I reached a hand out towards her red crown and she shrunk away, molding herself into a corner. I put on my best smile as I advanced toward her small frame. She was so beautiful, and so red.