She was just frustrated. Wrinkles and dark circles had reacted with her skin. Her smile, plagued with sadness rested unhappily on her face. The laughter disappeared in anger. I could feel her nervous reverberations as I held her hand and walk down the hall to the operating room. She clutches my hand tightly and I remember those insignificant days when we did the same as we walked down the school hallways. Her laughter seems evil. It is uncertain of what we can do and what we should. I try to smile bravely at her, but inside I am breaking. There are so many layers to me, that I scare myself most of the times. I watch her going in. I promise I’ll stay here and be there when she comes back, but I’m already numb. I sit down on the metallic chairs. Their cold exteriors hit my bare skin and I touch my thigh. I pinch my flesh and then rub my hands over it to soothe the redness. I touch it again lightly and I try to avoid the weird stares I was receiving. I wanted to yell and ask, “Do you have a problem if I touch my own body?” But, I don’t. That just sounded wrong on so many levels even in my head. I hope they call me soon; hospitals have always made me sick.
It all started way back- in art class.
“Do you think red will look good on me?” I looked up and saw her holding a knife. A sadistic smile wrapped around her lips as she smoothly rubbed the knife on her palm.
“It depends on why you’re asking?” I think of taking the knife away from her but she listlessly lays it on the table. She then picks up a palette and moves towards her canvas. I watch her cautiously as she adds luster to his hair and paints his nails. She adds more brown to the peach; I wonder if I would ever be able to be as good as her.
“Did you memorize him?”
“I told you. I met him at a cocktail party. We hit it off. We would’ve kissed, but he had to leave.” She winks and continues, “His wife called.”
“You can’t think about him like that, Ayesha. You’re 16; he’s 30.”
“28.” She corrects me and teasingly lands some red paint on my nose.
“Not funny. You do realize that making out with somebody’s boyfriend is another thing, but trying to lay your hands on someone’s husband is another. You’re being childish.”
“And, you’re being rude and boring.”
“Boring? Ayesha, you’re trying to play adulteress and you expect me to sit back and watch the drama? Don’t be fickle.”
“Maybe you’re just naïve, Maya.” Before I could reply, she went off. I knew I would see her soon. I stared at my canvas. I see a caricature. “Maybe, I’m just making fun of myself. I can’t paint or do art.” “Stupid portraits.” I leaned against the wall as I observed the difference between Ayesha’s canvas and mine. I judged her for trying to ruin a married man’s life and I judged myself for thinking, ‘At least she gets to make out.’ I shook my head.
“No, Maya. Don’t think about him again. Go home, go to sleep.”
I walked towards the exit, when a voice called out, “Hey! Maya.” I turned and saw him there. Those same eyes, those same lips; I looked away, but she had caught up to me by them. “Maya! You have to stop by my party tonight.” I tried to avoid his eyes but I could feel his tight gaze on me.
“Of course, I’ll try to make it. What are you celebrating?” I ask.
“Oh, just our one year anniversary-It’s been a year since we’re dating!” Her enthusiasm juxtaposed with my hurt. I looked at him, he looked away. I wished I could’ve pulled him by the collar and yelled, ‘How can she still not know?’ but instead, I calmly replied, “Of course, yes. I’ll let you both know.” I watched them walk off hand in hand and I wished I didn’t feel this pain.
“Ayesha, you can’t.” I panicked into the call receiver as I heard Ayesha bragging about how he was taking her to the bedroom.
“Maya, you really need to chill and drop low for a night okay? I’m fine. Don’t over doze on those cigarettes okay? He’s not worth it.” The call ended before I could even get my side of the story in. I sigh and stare at the pack of cigarettes into my hand. Settling on the window’s porch, I watch the streetlamps flicker as he walks in.