Alexia

I thought there would be tears in Vicky’s eyes; the only thing that gleamed on her face was her red lipstick. I thought she’d bend to kiss Cleon’s cheek; she just stood over him and gave him a long look. I thought she’d say something; she smiled. And in the end the handful of dirt she threw at him was more like spitting on his face than saying goodbye. Then she found a quiet corner and smoked a cigarette.

Everyone we knew from school came to the funeral. Cleon had been so popular. Everyone had wanted to hang out with him. They were all shocked when they heard about the car accident. They drove here from all corners of the country to bid farewell to their classmate and companion. So did Vicky. But she didn’t seem to realize that we hadn’t lost only Cleon; a part of our youth had died. She didn’t speak too much with anyone, not even with me. I was the one who called to tell her about the accident. ‘I’ ll be there,’ she said and hung up before I could give her the details of what had happened.

Vicky had always been the silent type. There is something pretentious about silent types.

I went up to her as she was lighting another cigarette, her back turned to the graveyard, her gaze fixed on the hills.

‘Remember how we used to go up there and be crazy?’ I said.

She turned around slowly. Her eyes were still dry and her lipstick still juicy.

‘Sure,’ she said, and turned her gaze back to the hills.

‘And the parties we had?

‘Yes,’ she said.

‘We had so much fun. And Cleon… most of it we owed to him.’

‘Yes. Cleon always knew how to have fun,’ she said.

‘He was so full of life. Always up to something. And so gorgeous. He looked like an angel. Every girl was in love with him.’

‘Shows how clever they were,’ she said. She took a small mirror out of her purse and checked her lipstick. Then she checked the geometry of her bob and must have found it perfect, because she smiled.

‘I can’t believe I’ll never see him again… never hear his voice again–’

‘And I can’t believe he’s finally shut the fuck up,’ Vicky cut in. She tossed the mirror back in her purse and snapped it close, the sound of the clasp as dry as her eyes, her voice. Then, without another word or look at me, she turned away and left.

I stood there gaping after her, wondering since when is red lipstick appropriate for a funeral.

Vicky

He was an angel alright: an angel of vengeance.

He and I had become lovers that roaring summer after school had ended and college was to come with autumn.

It would be pleasure without pressure: we had agreed on that.

I kept the deal. He didn’t.

One day, as we were rolling naked on the scorched grass of the hills, he said the words that were not to be said. He said ‘I love you.’

He couldn’t accept the fact that I didn’t love him back. He persisted. He pleaded, he begged, he promised.

When none of it worked, he finally spoke the truth. He said ‘I hate you.’

I thought that was the end of it.

 

I never got used to the sound of the phone ringing in the middle of the night. One does not easily get used to that sort of shrillness.

‘I know you still wear red lipstick. Who do you wear it for now? Do you suck him with that lipstick on? Like you sucked me?’

The voice was hoarse and whispering, but his.

Hanging up on him did not discourage him. Changing my phone number didn’t stop him. I don’t know how he did it, but he was always able to find me. Not only me. People I dated had received night calls. He had told them to leave me alone, or else. A couple of them had listened.

But then came a night when the phone rang and it wasn’t him. It was Alexia.

‘Can you believe it? So young, so young…’ she sobbed and sobbed, and loved it that she was the messenger of bad news.

‘I’ll be there,’ I said and hung up, saving myself from her chirping bird monologue.

I caught the sideways glances she gave me at the funeral. But then she was always giving me sideways glances, even while we spoke, as if she was trying to see a face behind a mask.

I didn’t care. I came here to see Cleon dead and buried. To throw dirt on his face. To flaunt my red lipstick at him and disappear into the sunset.

And that is what I did.

 

***

Basilike Pappa 2017

 

85 thoughts on “Death will Tear us Apart

      1. I’m a translator. English was the first foreign language I learned and I enjoyed the process very much. So I read books outside of the lessons, and read song lyrics, and paid attention to what was being said on films. I guess that’s the way to learn a language if you don’t live in the country it’s spoken.

        Basilike is the female version of Basil. It means royal or regal. It’s not bad. Just very… common!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I’m doing the same thing in German. Unfortunately, I hardly ever have to speak it – Berlin is an international city and just about everyone speaks English – so it’s hard to get good at it. The learning process has taken forever, but getting there. I’ll be perfectly fluent in about 20 years. Hah.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh cool. I am interested in hearing your thoughts about all things German when you get there. I loved Köln/Düsseldorf. It was the first place I went on my first trip to Europe and what made me decide to move to Germany.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Exceptional writing, Basilike. Love how you pulled off the dual perspective, how you used it to just barely scratch the surface of Vicky’s character before really diving in and forcing the reader to change their opinion of her. A wonderful illustration of how misleading our impressions can be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Ryan! This is exactly what I was trying to do! I’m happy to know it works.
      I wrote this piece for a creative writing course a couple of years ago, where we were supposed to give and receive feedback. One of the guys who read it wondered if Vicky’s friends are ever going to realize how hard-hearted she is. Ha ha!

      Thank you for introducing me to ‘May I feel said he.’ Such simple words, so much strength.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was just thinking of Subpoema. Played around with subpoena, loosely translated it as invitation (Let’s blush…), then thought sub=neath, and we wrote it under a post. What do you think?

        Seafarer is good too.

        Like

      2. Oh, your suggestion is much better than mine, I think. I like the thought you put into the name. It means something, and I appreciate that.

        Like

      3. Would you like us to keep it then? Let’s see how it all looks like. To me it read like a dialogue, hence the line break. I played a little with the punctuation and changed ‘if’ to ‘though’ in the knife line.

        Subpoema

        Let’s blush together over the seas and far away, then,
        neath Helios golden.
        Taste the salt spray cleaving to your lips
        and think kindly of me
        even though I love like a knife.

        Then excise my heart – I offer you my body
        and if I ever regret it, I won’t tell a soul.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I also read it as dialogue, and I like how you’ve arranged it all. Would you like an accompanying image? I typically like images with my posts. If you don’t, would it bother you if I did?

        Like

  2. Wow! Such a great piece! It was a wonderful read. The unveiling of the truth kept the tension up! Your ending was really super!

    Loved the collaboration between you and Kindra in the comments!! Such a wonderful miracle of birth for your poem together! Great that the two of you could do that. Hope to see more great work from you two!
    Chuck

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! So good to see you here! I’ve enjoyed your work and I am happy you like mine.

      It was a magical thing that night with Kindra. We connected immediately and even wrote together, just like that! I surely want to collaborate with her again.

      Like

      1. I got the feeling that if he was alive today, he wouldn’t be in the music industry. Maybe he’d be a civil servant, or something that doesn’ t draw attention. To avoid pressure perhaps.

        Like

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