Hello, Emptiness. I take extra long to turn off the alarm clock and lay there for a few minutes after. Because…why not. Tick. Tick. It all went and eventually I felt okay enough to go with it.
The clothes go on easily enough. As does the make up I use to enhance my eyes and hide my blemishes. No one ever tells you that you can get blemishes at 26. Physical ones, sure. But they never tell you about the emotional ones. Those bubble up. Even puss, like the physical ones. You never know when they’re going to flare up. So you hide them with frivolous bullshit so no one else can see. Spoiler: everyone hides something behind bullshit. Because…why not.
You know what else flares up? People. No matter how reclusive you want to be, you’ve gotta deal with them.
“Are you going to have breakfast?” my mother asked, wrapped in her warmest white robe.
“Only if you can make it for me.” I threw on my shoes, knowing they’d be off in 5 hours, placed exactly where I had gotten them. Nothing ever changes if you try hard enough.
“I have a few extra eggs, if you want. I can scramble ’em quick.” I smile and nod. She smiles back. If you can’t hide unhappiness from your own mother, what’s the point of anything? She went through a lot of trouble to get you existing as you are. The least you can do is feign some sort of happiness, for her own sake.
I eat the eggs while explaining what others expected of me today. I expected nothing. It leaves little room for disappointment when you plan your days that way. People don’t realize I do this, I don’t think. If they did they’d probably feel some sort of sadness for me. So I have to hide that too. No need for that. Pity helps no one. Sure, empathy helps you ‘connect’ to humanity. But ‘pity’ just unlevels the playing field. I’m still at full capacity when I feel this way, but I know nobody would believe it. I know what I am. What I can. I know better than anyone else.
I put on my long red trench coat and head to my Last Minute Vanity. Beside the front door, I have a mirror with make-up on a shelf below it. I always trace my lips with red velvet on the way out the door, because that’s what they liked.They zoomed in on them as if they were on the Mona Lisa. And if I’m being honest, I played it up, licking my lips coyly (never too sexily…they never deserved that). But a light lower lip nip, I’d give them that. Cuz if you can’t give them that little nugget, they’d pry for a sex tape or a nip slip of another kind. You always have to play the numbers. And never let them tip the scale too much in their favor.
I hollered a goodbye to mom and gave a quick smile to the mirror. Then I naturally let it fade back to my naturally bored look. As I open the door, one, two, three cameras flashed from the other side of the gated driveway. I pulled my coat tighter. Instinct always kicks in.
They always found me. Which was sort of endearing, since I could never find myself. But we were thousands of miles from where I work, and they watched me more here than they did there. I didn’t wave. I only gave a half-hearted smile. Then I turned to my car and got in. I put on my driving gloves (no one my age wears driving gloves anymore) and I let the air stay neutral. Why change what nature wanted to give me? If it wanted me to be cold, so let it be. And, I guess, if something in this car shouldn’t be phony…it’s only fitting that it should be the air around me.
The only thing I had to do today was meet for a photo shoot at some random museum. Apparently, this facade next to taxidermy is something ‘intriguing’. But they don’t see it that way. I’m not a facade to them. I’m Adelaide Kincaide. Not a fake at all. People…they love to think their idols are pure and encompass all things fantastical. And with my mug, it’s an easy dream for them to have.
I drove fifty minutes in silence when I wanted it. In music when I wanted it. With only my voice when I needed it. I feel like the only honest conversations I can have with myself are done when I’m sleeping or when I’m alone in my car. If I wanted to scream, I could. But I never did. I always wish I had, once I reached my destination, but I never did.
And as I reached the museum’s parking structure, I wished I could shriek, let my vibrations bounce off the cement. But imagining the fallout if someone had heard, was too troublesome. This face. This body. These assets. They wouldn’t last forever. And I didn’t want to give a reason to rush my ending in this business. My parents needed this. Needed some of my money. They always needed this. But the one thing I needed, I couldn’t even be anymore. But who can complain when you’re rolling in cash money? I said I’d cosplay for the world until the world didn’t want me anymore. Do normal people cosplay as another themself?
A tiny woman with a stunning golden scarf directed me to the Amazon Rainforest display in the lower section of the museum. The camera was set up towards a cheetah with an arrow in it’s side. Just off camera was the ‘hunter’…celebrating a kill.
I smiled and shook hands with the crew and photographer. I think he was famous. I think this was for some big magazine people my age gave a shit about. Maybe. And as someone took my coat, I craved to walk the museum by myself…the lights dim, with no one in sight. But as my clothes and make up were stripped off my body, I knew they wouldn’t let me.
I was stationed next to some creature that had been set in this unnatural position for so long, layers of dust had to be quickly removed. Fake blood dribbled out of the arrow’s entry location. I wondered if the cheetah was going to get a touch up after every 5 shots. Hollywood always loved more ‘blood’.
“Does this thing need more red?” I asked to the room, not knowing who could answer this question.
The camera man looked around his lens, “Blood?”
“No, I don’t want it to take over the photo. I want to keep that thing simplistic.” He stuck his head back behind the camera.
“I think this place needs more red.” I went to my purse, pulled out my trusty red velvet lipstick, and while the make up artist shook her head in shame, I put it on without a mirror. I knew my lips. I knew where they ended. I knew how far they reached. The room was a flutter with words I couldn’t hear. But I knew what they’d say, “Typical Adelaide. Gorgeous Adelaide. Give it to us Adelaide.”
And in the black velvet gown and my ‘fucking take what I give you and like it’ lipstick, I bit my lower lip and gave a low and steady growl.