My back aches where she sits on it. She adjusts her legs, her bare thighs scraping against my hips, and her knees release a sickened crack. She tugs on her bathing suit with one hand and tangles the other inside my head, pressing down. She cups her fingers and holds my hair and keeps me there.
The back of my throat stings of chlorine and her skin. I open and close my mouth, a guppy fish who does not understand the water. I can feel the bones of her hands, skinny, dinosaur hands, pummeling through into the uncomfortable red flesh at the back of my head. I can feel every aching, distorted bone inside my body. If I could, I would release myself of them, and let my bones lay in her dead yellow grass and bake in the sun while she sits on me, keeps my head down, and I am just a pile of red, irritable skin. Every time I open my mouth, I gulp, swallow, inhale. I try.
She moves herself up higher on my back, and my legs kick out, uselessly smacking themselves against the bottom of her inflatable pool. My nose juts into the ground and I can feel the dirt, rocks and grass through the material, poking up to meet at my cheeks. My eyes throw an angry fit when I attempt to open them, and all I can see is the white-blue of hose water as it slowly dyes itself red. I try to rear my head back and she grits her teeth, holds me down.
I swallow and swallow and there is no air in my mouth, no air at all. I am a cave that is flooding with water and she presses into my back and squeezes my hair tight in her fist and I vomit a little, in the back of my throat. My vision begins to color with faded yellow and speckled black, a bee in my face, a bee in my eye, a bee pressing my lips closed and refusing to let an aching gallon of water outside, leaking through my body, bursting at the seams, where all of my skin closes and sews itself up.
I swallow and I swallow and I kick and I curl and I swallow the infinite water before me, because I am in the ocean, and there is no air to be had here, I am in the ocean and she is a giant ship and I try to kick upwards and she keeps me there, my head so small it is enclosed in her fist, my head so large that I cannot disappear and escape, save myself. I sputter, "Okay, okay, okay, okay okay okay," talking into the ground, speaking into my mouth, yelling at my teeth.
She twists her hand and I can feel her breath hitch, her body tighten. "Okay?" she repeats. There is a crack in her voice, as though an earthquake has torn her body apart, left her shaking and fractured. "LeeAnn? You ready?"
"Okay, okay, I—yes, yes, yes," I hasten to tell her. What I want to say is: Kill me now. What I want to say is: Don't stop. What I want to say is: Hold me. What I say is:
She motions to bring herself off of me. I spasm and turn, quickly, my back thrown onto the pool bottom, and I hurl my hands at her, accidentally smacking into her thighs. My back quivers and I press my forehead against my knees.
In my head, I have claws. In my head I am made of claws and I am peeling back her white, freckled skin, ripping her curly red hair from the roots of her scalp, until she has lost all of her flesh, misplaced in tufts and exoskeleton fits around here, and she is naked red bones and white blood, seeping from the container of pale freckles, and she is no more. She would like that.
I turn up to catch her face. She is crying. Her eyes are a broken dam. I spit and it dribbles down my chin, falling onto my one-piece in unhealthy, raggedy ropes. My face is angry, and it kicks up, strangling me with a dry tightness. I am breathing heavily, my stomach pulsing with air. She adjusts her bikini and frowns at me, her nose pink with shame. Tears make ladders to her eyes, draping down and dangling off her jaw.
"Come inside," she says. She rubs her hands on her exposed stomach. She is a skeleton who has fitted itself into loose, papery skin, but in reality, she is simply bones, all sharp turns and curves and no blood. I nod and rub at my sockets, trying to spoon out my red eyes, trying to fix myself.
My legs shake inside her kitchen. She has given me a towel and I am scrubbing at my face. I let it fall into my lap and I pick up the fork and prepare to swallow. It's pasta—spaghetti, snaking down my throat and churning in my gut. I eat and I eat and I eat and she watches me, carefully. She looks at her fists, cornered inside her lap, small skinned white animals trying to escape her.
"Thanks," she whispers, quietly. "My mom'd kill me if she came home and I hadn't eaten anything. She doesn't know you're here, so—"
She doesn't finish. I am silent. I know what she means. I know why I am here. I know what I am good for.
I stop chewing—I simply down the food, swallow it, eat and eat and eat, and I eat and I eat and I eat and she is there, and I eat for her, and I eat because my hair is stuck to my face and my mouth tastes like chlorine and noodles and red sauce and I am red, a pile of red, my kneecaps are red and my arms are red and my eyes sting and I am afraid of the mirror because I am red, so violently red, and I eat.
She is still crying. I can see the tears in the corners of her eyes. They hang to her corneas and refuse to let go. She brushes them away with a tiny shriveled finger. She has wrapped a towel around herself, around her exposed stomach and thighs and shoulders, hiding from me. She holds her hands to her face and pushes the bones into her eyes and cries into her palms, and all I can see is lip-gloss, a purple towel, skin as white as a wall.
She stops impaling her eyes on the bones in her hands and turns her head, looks at the pictures on her wall. "I don't like it, you know. It just—it just works. My brother does it to me sometimes, when he wants money. Or that one time, when I broke his skateboard."
She looks back. I instinctively turn my head down. I have eaten most of the pasta, cleared the plate through, so that you can see the bottom of the bowl, white skirted with red sauce. "I'm sorry."
I swallow. Fill the cave up with spit. My eyes are dry and they pound, beating on my lids, crusting in the corners. "Don't tell your parents," she says, and she stands. "If you tell your parents, I'll do it again." I say nothing. I am nothing. I try my hardest to push it out of my head, to forget, to forget forever, until I can think about her and not imagine pool water and dirt and food, until I can think about her and imagine dark rooms and MadLibs and her celebrity crushes, the way it should be. My ears pop with emptied water. I try to forget until I can think about her.
"Maybe—" she says. "Maybe, after this, we can play American Idol." A pause. "I know how much—how much you like that game. My brother, he's out with his friends, so the—the computer should be free. We can play. If you want to."
I swallow. She watches me. "Don't you want to?"
I could beg for death. I could get on my knees and lay down in her empty pool and ask her to fill it up, to sit on my back, to keep me there. I could ask her to hold my head and never let up. I could tell her to shove her fist in my mouth and plug my nose with her other hand, press my cartilage between her fingers, and call me every dirty word she can think of and never ever let go, even when I close my eyes and stop struggling, stop trying.
I could ask her to lay her back on my knees and scream into my ears until I bleed. I could take the hose and fill her pool up until the water is tumbling over the edges, until the pool is drowning on itself, and I could lay down and say, Please. Please. Don't get up. Fill this with your tears and watch me. Make sure I don't get up. Watch me turn from white to red to blue and keep me there.
I could tell her: Make me hold you under the water and whisper romantic things into your ear like you used to make me do, until that time Sam caught us. Make me press myself against you and tell you how much I love you and let you whisper my name, Tom Felton, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Chad and Tony, the celebrities you will never know and the boys who ignore you at school, until I don't remember who I am.
Close your eyes and lean against the pool and ask me to kiss you. Watch me fumble with the words. Watch me smile and ask if we can stop. Watch me eat and hold me under for the longest time, until I can't come back up again, until I don't even want to.
I could beg her for my death. I could ask her for it. I could ask her to kill me.
"Yes." I wipe my mouth with the towel, red sauce drifting across the checkered pattern, and I meet her eyes with my redness. She fades a little and I inhale all of myself and I say, "Yeah, let's play," and she smiles.
She would say yes. She would do it for me. God knows I would do it for her.
T'as rien compris hein ? xD Ne t'inquiete pas je metrait une traduction !
Musique : The ting tings-We started nothing (album complet)