See What You Thought You Saw

by Alexandra J.P. Sliver

...There's no way. Not anything could change anything. My skin feels too tight, my eyeballs too big and my brain is gonna implode any day now. Nothing could change anything. I'm telling you the damn truth...

The virgin paper felt every single black mark like it was a new rape. But She could care less about how anyone else felt. These words that seemed to come from her old brain were black pearls of wisdom; there was nothing left to do but get them all down on paper. Black marred white; conscious met the unconscious; anger met calm and they all converged on this once white, blue lined piece of paper.

Gray-starchiness begged for forgiveness as her pen came harsh and unyielding upon this unwilling target. Fervor mesmerized purple contacted eyes, sweat dewed on her top lip and with every stroke of sacred pen, a new word was born, another life lay slayed, momentous mirth shot dead. Anger met rage and danced a sarcastic tune of life.

A skylight doomed ceiling capped four slightly gray tinted walls, which held down a thick cropping of dark gray carpet. Nothing but the paper scratchings hinted to human existence. The famous Screamer, stood beside the door, obviously staring at the occupant who disappeared behind the great second-hand mahogany desk. Single rows, of four shiny brass handles, on either side, shook steadily as she tended to her table top chore. Sad rain rapped the ceiling panes as brown death filled leaves met their final resting place beside the sliding rain patters on the skylight. Longing rain and leaves looked down, begging entrance to her bubble world, even though there was none to be offered.

An elongated table lamp, splashed warm illume on the center of the glassy, rich, garnet writing desk. A foot or so of desk on either side of this pool of light was left to the darkness. The immense... tool, needed four men to carry it from the antique thrift shop in town and it did a fine job of holding down the thick, dark gray, grass like carpet. Once, when she sought peace from her parents, she sat beneath the great thing, pulled the chair all the way under and hid for nearly forty minutes, while her oblivious parents searched for her attendance to the annual family get together, then they finally gave up and left her to her chore.

The wheels on the black swivel chair, squeaked rudely over the carpet, as her strong, gillette scarred arms pushed on the edge of the sacred writing alter. She allowed the writings to take on their new life while she retreated to the comforting darkness for respite. Metal softly ground on metal, as she pulled her legs on the chair and propelled it to move in slow, soothing turns. An arm lounged across her peaked knees while the other vanished beneath her long sleeved shirt, fading into her mussed hair. Her lounging hand cupped her hidden elbow as possessed eyes gleamed from below dismal locks. The turning of the chair stopped and she faced her words once again.

She quickly sank her toes into the carpet, absently throwing the pen to the tattered parchment. It bled fierce red, drowning sanity in its spread. Bed...bed... it's time to get to bed. Supinely she moved to the rear corner behind the alter, collapsing into the froth of beige comforter and lilac pillows. She slept, deeply, while the Screamer watched over, shrieking silently for her to rise once again.

...You didn't believe me. You don't ever believe the things that I say. I suppose it wouldn't be so bad if you acknowledge me but you pretend I don't exist and call me things unheard. Who are you to be my accuser? What God died and gave you right? None of the ones who sentenced me to live your left over life...

Start tearing the old man down/ run past the heather and down to the old road/ Start turning the grain into the ground/ roll a new leaf over...

(Counting Crows, Omaha, August and Everything After...)

Longing filled her petite sleeping ears. Home, home, she longed to be home, beneath the open skies and wide fields, running jumping, wasting life away, being happy... She longed for home. Instead her eyes introduced her to this familiarly hated solitude.

A cozy sun melted through the slats of her shades and through the ceiling to greet her. She propped up on her right elbow and peered through the venetian blinds.

What time is it? She landed on her back and grappled her wrist for the watch. Five thirty-four. I slept a whole day? Missed school? Breakfast, dinner? And no one woke me up? I should buzz for three days more often. She pulled back on her hair and crossed her feet beneath the comforter. She laid with her elbows pointing in either direction. The contrasting beige nearly swallowed the remaining darkness of her clothing and her hair. Should I get up? Or should I just die? She closed her eyes, deeply inhaling, then decided to get up.

She propped on her left elbow and turned slowly toward the desk. Getting up, she crossed the area directly behind it and didn't even bother to re-read her mid-night scribblings. Once she reached the other side of the room, she pushed open an unassuming door, clicked on the light and sealed away her entrance. Once inside, her drab, four day garb, made an exit to the floor and warm embracing water soothed her empty soul.

Clean water smelling soap glided over her curves, releasing the tension within. Suds ceremoniously caressed her arms then she stopped, feeling the bumpy scarred skin beneath the bubbles. Rinsing, she noticed the deep color of the old scars and the new pinkness of the fresh ones. She rubbed the surface of her skin, nothing happening each time. Salted tears mixed with shower water and soap aroma as pain thundered through her chest. Slender fingers reached for the cold silver gillette. Closing her heart, she added another lash and watched the pain escape as her blood swirled down the blue colored tile to the silver, gillette toned drain.

Getting out, she hurriedly slammed the medicine cabinet door open, grabbing for the NeoSporin and bandages she had for just such an occasion. Her face scowled as she squeezed the familiar tube and coolly placed the bandage on her wrist. She replaced the tube on the third shelf and closed the cabinet softly. Looking in the mirror, a spot of blood called her attention. Soon, un-emotioned tears swept it away.

"I love you, you know. "
"Sure you do. "
"Give me more credit, Cruya. "
"You can't love me. "
"Oh...! Says who? "
"You just can't Soo. I'm a good fuck when you need it and that's it. "
"Damn... you always have to make things so crude! "
"But you've just gotta love me for it eh? "
"Shut up... I love you anyway. I'll be there soon. "

...I suppose then it shouldn't matter... how I feel or the way I notice the birds staring at your lucious lips. But you give them to me like I'm suppose to do something with them... you tell me it's for my own good but what does that mean to me when I could care less?...

"What's this? "

She stood by the desk, looking over the shards of paper left over from Tuesday. I sat on my bed, one knee holding up my chin, the other, keeping down the pillow and my hands touching my bare feet.

"Something I wrote. "
"I can see that... but what is it? "
"I dunno Saudi...a suicide note... "

She grabbed the crumpled, etched through paper with the red stains and sauntered over to my bed.

"Is that what happened to your arm again? "She looked concerned but more upset.

I reached under my pillow and produced a pack of Cool Menthols, slyly lifting a lean cigarette and perching it between my lips. Another evasive move and a swift flame ignited the end of my drag.

"What happened to your arm? "
"Nothing. "
"That nothing has an awfully big bandage. "
"Yeah... whatever. Hand me back my drag. "
"Don't you think you've punished your lungs enough? "
"Nope...they just cry out for more. "
"I won't kiss you if you keep smoking Cruya. "
"So I'll kiss you. "
"That's nasty! "
"I never said I wasn't. "
"Why are you doing this to me? "
"Baby... because I can. "
"That's not funny. "
"I'm not laughing. "
"Why do you make things so hard? "
"That's just how things are. "
"I'm trying to make them better for you... "
"I can't handle this Cruya! "
"I can't love you Saudi. "
"Does it even matter how much my heart aches for you? How I call out your name in the middle of the night? I want you to feel this Cruya... "
"So your heart is beating... and...?"
"It's beating this way because of you. I want to take the pain away Cruya, make things all better. "
"You can't do that Saudi... because I died long before I met you. Nothing can bring me back. "
"So you'll keep doing... doing this..."And she pulled my arm in the light of the evening window and cried over it. Perhaps hoping to bless my wounds.

I pulled my arm abruptly and put out the cigarette on the back of my hand.

"No Saudi, I'll keep doing that...and other things. "

A cinnamon/cream apologetic face stared back at my stubbornness. Defeated basil colored eyes begged for my mercy. I stood next to the bed, digging in my pocket for a lost treasure. Finding it, I ran my fingers through her mushroomed, sand colored hair and paused my fingers at the curve of her chin.

"I'll stop smoking...today. "Reaching for her back, I sat next to her and placed my open palm on her spine. Moving her fragrant hair aside, I kissed her neck tenderly.

"I'm sorry... "Tears welled in her eyes and fell on my cheek. A weak body trembled from the strength of my words and her angelic face collapsed into her open palms. Bitterly she wept, driving me to touched confusion.

Silently the sun sank deeper into the horizon, splashing the house with a fine hint of orange sorbet sun. Ancient white Greek columns creaked under the strain of the peaked ornate roof, as spaced Victorian windows gave the house a settled in face. The heels of her yellow suede Honcho boots crunched on the adobe brick chipped driveway.

Finely dewed grass rustled in the wind, sprinkling her black pants to a fine dampness. A red and black plaid shirt with yellow accents flapped in the wind, revealing a black T-shirt beneath. A black unmarked back-pack, slung, unharrased, on her shoulder. Five thirty flashed on her watch as she began her trek...

...No one ever knows what it's like. What it's like when nothing makes sense anymore. I've lived this life before...sometime ago, when I didn't know any better and some how I got caught up in this cycle. I keep doing the same things...keep feeling the same emotions. And it's not the sex with women, it's not the insanity that threatens to swallow me whole, it's not even my parents...

Stretched lawn gave way to city sidewalks and homeless men. Gray buildings and busy streets caught her attention. The sky calmed its drawings and rested into a deep blue, accented by a slight purple/red blaze. Six fifteen blared on her watch.

...To tell you the truth... I'm not sure how to describe what it is. It's a cross between having someone love you...for all the wrong reasons and doing all the wrong things, for all the right reasons. I'm not me any more, I'm everyone that walks through the doors and into my life. And it hurts... more than the gillette, more than not eating, more than making love to Saudi...

The glass on the door was spray painted white but this was the place. The red painted wood hadn't changed much either, except since they put that gutter in the middle of the street, the added moisture caused the bottom to peel a bit.

Knock... KNOCK...Knockknock

"Who are you doing? "

The red/white door creaked open revealing the brown eye of a serious man.

She glanced at the rusted fire escape over head, looked in either direction of the otherwise grime stricken alley and said exasperated,

"Native Daughter... "

The door slammed in her face, gently puffing her dark brown, perm-at-the-ends waist length hair. Abruptly it opened and the brown eye of the serious man was now accompanied by a whole body, clad in jeans, a black T-shirt and a leather vest. His neatly trimmed goatee tried to hide the scar but managed to make it that much more obvious as a line of sleek pink bumped skin peered along his otherwise black haired jawline.

His out stretched arms embraced her fully, lovingly.

"Cruya... Welcome. "And his crooked smile warmed her heart.

"Thank you Capitan. "And she bowed gracefully, rounding out the Spanish pronunciation of his name.

He quickly shut the door behind and scooted her to the far table by the stage, where Saudi was waiting for her.

"Mocha Frost Capi...extra Moch'. "Nodding his head, the slightly thinned man buzzed to the counter to prepare the drink.

The lights were red tonight, which made everything look so different. The long brown bar by the entrance, now looked like it hovered on the edge of reality and dream. Fading in when someone touched it and fading out when there was nothing to keep it here. Only the silver legs of the stools hinted to stability. In the center of the room. resting elbows gave a semblance of wobbly table tops, while to the near right, mood candles lighted the way to the booths. And there she was, by the stage, whose sole spotlight was white.

"<cahem> Hello Cru... I'm glad you could be here. "And she reached her hand out.

"Thank you... "She said lowly, hiding her shame. A sole votive lit the square table, showing the bumps, ridges and waiting hand of Saudi. Solemnly Cruya reached back, feeling the familiar grooves of her companion. An unfamiliar jazz tune hummed in the background... filling the conversation gaps with wisdom shattering horn solos and drum snares.

"How's your arm? "
"Better... still hurts a bit... "
"It'll be okay. "
"Here Cruya... it's on the house... "
"Capi... no... I insist on paying... no special treatment for me...despite anything Saudi has told you. "
"Rules are rules Cruya... A crisis deserves a break... drink up and sweet heart... "He placed his warm hand on my bandaged wrist, "... the next time you need anything... you know you can call me, night or day, you can always reach me. "Concern ate at the corners of his crow footed eyes. I nodded acknowledgment, thankful for the repeated advice.
"Yes Capi... if there is a next time... I will. "
"Here... take my card anyway... keep it in your purse ... put this one by your phone and one in your back pack... "Thanking him, I did as instructed and promised to place one by my phone. With that, the fatherly man left.
"Crisis Soo ? "

Her white looking face, made so by the red light, stared at me with unmatched concern.

Sipping on her tea she added, "What would you call it? "

"Excuse me... excuse me... thank you all for coming to The Poets' Pen tonight... it's nice to see such a big turn out..."

Slight clapping erupted, breaking up the chaos of lost conversations and drowning out the low music. The man on the mic continued...

"Yes, yes, you all do deserve to give yourselves a hand ... "And he smiled broadly, bringing his own hands front and center, flashing his pinkie ring.

"Now... You all know, and for those of you who are new, that tonight it Open Mic Night, and I would like to invite the regulars and some of the guests up to showcase their best piece of poetry. "

An excited buzz of voices and notebook pages and moving seats temporarily took the attention away from the speaker, even though Saudis' and Cruyas' gaze was right with him.

"However...... before we get started... I would like to introduce my dear sweet Cruya, to read us one of her newer works... Cruya... "

A burst of clapping erupted, startling the young girl to her feet. Pushed by Saudi, Cruya stumbled to the stage, squinting her eyes from the light while unfolding the crumpled paper. The MC stepped down and looked longingly into the young girls face. A soft sheen of sweat appeared on her forehead as she cleared her throat...someone in the audience screamed... I LOVE YOU CRUYA!! and she only smiled, licking her lips with satisfaction.

"I... I would like to thank everyone... for coming... I know The Pens' been low on numbers since that gutter was put in... I hope this is the beginning of a stronger comeback... "

Gurgles of agreement swept the crowd. More people entered in the back as she continued...

"I wrote a new piece the other night... while sanity had me in despair... and I hope you all enjoy it... "

Calmly, she cleared her voice, preparing to set their minds on fire...

"I burned the alter today...
Clear poison liquid met
cherry finished wood and
shined, glistened, sparkled.
The match was the only thing missing.
So I threw it...
The inferno that raged?
I contained;
captive in my eyes and
ever-loving mind.
Velvet swarthy smoke
curled to meet the heavens,
as I tread on sacred ground,
blessed with bleeding ash.
Yeah... I knew it.
Some how, the temple,
still she stood.
Staring back at me for revenge.
Holding back Her desires.
I added gasoline to the fire anyway.
Orange vicious tongue-flames
called me names.
Flaming my stomach from where I stood.
I searched heatedly for timber.
Volcano fire oozed from walls,
making the floorboards scream.
I heard Her whisper ...enough!
Then I realized She... was me.
And I wonder...
Would it have been enough to sell diamond secrets instead? "

A moment of silence and Capitan, surrounded by his bar, led the standing ovation. A rumble of pushed chairs conceded with his decision as everyone else rose to their feet in accordance with the ring leader. The man who originally introduced Cruya to The Pen, joined her on stage as she backed away from the overwhelming acceptance in the room. He placed his affectionate hands on her shoulders, holding her up toward the audience.

...And somehow... this thing that eats away at me, knows how to get to my soul... tearing it to pieces and no one can help me stop it. Just like tonight... just like Tuesday night... just like that night David wound up at my house...

"Cruya... thank you... The Pen, Capitan and I, would like to thank you... "And the MC placed a delicate kiss on her off brown cheek, while her eyes stared into the mob-audience. Shyly she stepped down, taking her place next to Saudi. She cupped the iced body of her Mocha Frost and sipped slowly.

...David was someone I knew from nowhere. And he took me on a trip precisely there. I came out of the place where I work, down the street from The Pen and there he was, oblivious to the rain or the blowing wind. But I kept on walking, hoping to get home before I caught a cold, that was before I stopped caring. And I remembered how my boots swished and crunched soggily in the street. The rain hit me with force, then dissolved like a melted bullet. That's when I noticed that he was beside me...

"Cruya... would you like anything else? I've got these new drags from Sweden..."

"No thanks Capi... "I smiled absently as I noticed how the room began to fill with cigarette smoke. "... I promised Soo I would quit... "

He turned his head to the side and raised his hand.

"'Nough said... Can I make you something to eat maybe? Jared made some chicken salad... can't get any better than his... whole wheat, with a bit of mustard right?"

I hesitated, shifting my feet onto the chair while I sat Indian style.

"I won't take no for an answer... darling you are just too thin... Soo...didn't I tell you to bring her down here more often? "

Saudi looked apologetically, not knowing she was the reason Cruya stayed away so long.

"Yes Capi... I know... ", was all she could muster.

"And look at you... Soo ! "He placed his hand on his waist and tightened his face.

"My my... Vegan, correct? Good thing I told Jared to get that Pasta Pesto ready... no no no... I'll not hear a word of it! "

With that, the more motherly man left to tend to his children's meal. Saudi and Cruya looked at each other in exasperated belief.

"Cruya... what's going on? "

"Noth- "

"No... you've said that before... Cruya... "

...He said he's been following me for a while... I told him that I heard his steps, then asked what he wanted... no he insisted, he's been following my words since February last...wanted my name was all. I don't speak to strangers, I assured him and hurried my steps along the stretched lawns. He told me that I'll see him in my dreams...

"Saudi..."She looked at her dirty boots... "... we should go..."She put her legs down, letting them dangle to get her circulation back.

"Capi... can you make those to go? "She yelled across the room.

He waved his hand down, "Don't worry yourself sweetheart... I already have. "They got up from their spot, Cruya toting her Mocha straight to the bar.

"Listen... you take that Mocha home, bring the glass back when I see you next and you better drink it all! I put an extra bit of love in there for you sweetie. Soo... take this Swiss Vanilla and do the same darling. "

With that he produced two to-go boxes and stroked each of the girls cheeks.

"Now... "He emerged from the bar, escorting them to the door,

"...don't let it be another long while before I see you again... "He embraced Saudi first, then turned to Cruya.

"Baby...Look at me... I want you to be good, d'ya hear? "Determination settled in his crossed arms.

"Things will be fine, even if you just need a place to stay to get out of your house... call me! I mean that..."He embraced her as lovingly as he had when she entered. Kissing her on the forehead, he patted her back.

"Goodnight ladies... see you soon. "And he watched as they descended the alley... to-go boxes in tow... hand in hand.

...And there he was... staring at me to wake up. I told him to get out but still he stayed. I don't know how he got through our front door, or how he made it past my parents to get to my room but there he was. He still insisted that he wanted nothing from me. So that opened the door to the obvious question... why was he here?...

Their shoes crunched down the moist road steadily. Sweating hands clasped each other, tension loomed between them and not a word was spoken. Gray, homeless city gave way to suburban chic. Houses set back on green lawns splayed on either side of the street. Old knurled trees, twisted and turned, creating a canopy over the walk.

"Will your parents be awake? "

"I doubt it... it's about eleven thirty... they stopped waiting up. "

"Will they mind me being there? "

"No... "

"Okay. "

Occasional porch lights gleamed toward the street, lighting their way a little further. The trek was always a straight one, no turns or twists or folds of streets and houses to get lost in. A few more paces and they would be there.

...Because he said I needed him. I told him I didn't need anyone who barged into my life, heart or brain. But he said he didn't barge... I let him in. I've made this trip before and he knew this...he wasn't in the script...the Nirvana was mine to find, with no assistance. Consider this a new trip he told me...

Loudly, they reached the front of the house and stomped the dirt from their shoes before going in. Locking the door behind her, Cruya took the lead past the large center piece of flowers in the foyer, up the spiral staircase toward her room. A great expanse of wall loomed to their right as a plain varnished banister eased up slowly to their left. The staircase turned and wound precariously, finally ending on the second floor. Turning left, they marched down a dark, carpeted hall to the last room on the left.

A swift breeze escaped the room as a familiar bareness entered her vision. Reaching the great desk, she flicked on the lamp switch, revealing her otherwise empty room. She took the box from Saudi and placed it next to hers on the desk, then she walked out of her shoes, simultaneously throwing her unnoticed backpack in the corner by the door, her companion did the same.

"That was a walk... "

"Tell me about it. "

She sauntered to the far right, where her dresser and the sliding glass door of the patio was.

"Got any jamas? "

"Uh... no... got anything cotton? "

"Yeah... "Rummaging a bit, she found a lightly flowered jumper set and threw it at Saudi.

"Oh... I like that one...never seen it before... new? "

"No... I just never wear it. We should eat before it gets too much colder. I don't think putting the glasses on top of the boxes was such a good idea. "

"But I wanted to hold your hand... "

Pulling her plaid off, she eyed her companion suspiciously. Pulling off her long skirt, Saudi, glanced at her emptily.

"Wanna take a shower? "

"Sure... "

...Well, I don't wanna take any new trips I told him. New trips bite...especially if you aren't ready for'em. But he took me on this one anyway. First we were going and I wasn't looking ... I couldn't look. But he insisted that this was the best for me. I couldn't understand if what I was seeing was a good trip or a bad one so I was thinking if Saudi, if she saw what I saw and all she could do was blink blink those basil green eyes of hers and not even recognize anything that I was sayin. Which really freaked me out, cause she understands EVERYTHING that I say. And David appears out of no where and told me that this was only the beginning...

Clothing was left just were the occupants were standing, like an eerie reminder of who they were. A cool pitter pat of shower water fell as silence filled the sleeping house.

"This feels sooooo good... "

"Tell me about it. "And Cruya persed her mouth, un-amused, unmoved. Turning away from her companion, she reached for more soap.

"Let me do that... "Saudi reached across her to grab the soap and rub her back. Cruya pulled her hair aside, wary of the attention. "Thanks ... "She exhaled through shower soaked lips and took her posture, closing her eyes to the touch. Saudi noticed the abrupt silence and the tensing of Cruyas' back muscles. Slowly she lathered the soap, placed it down and feverishly began to massage her back, hoping to coax her into opening. Painstakingly she embraced her from behind, feeling the slick soap between them. Kissing Cruyas' neck, she laid one hand on her plumped belly and the other cupped her right breast. There she held her captive, allowing her to feel what she wanted to feel and loving her anyway.

Salty tears seeped from beneath Cruyas' closed eyes as she began to tremble. Slowly her hands found their way to her mouth, which she cupped, in an effort to keep silent. Shaking her head side to side, her fingers pushed the tears away. Saudi only held on tighter.

"Saudi... please... we have to eat... "

Reluctantly Saudi let go and rinsed Cruyas' back. Cruya pushed her face toward the water, rinsing off her tears. Quietly she turned the knobs, ending their shower. In a quick motion she pulled the plastic underwater scene shower curtain open, grabbed her thick light blue towel, wrapped it around her and stood in front of the sink. Saudi only turned, looked at her and went to the bedroom. Looking into the infinite whiteness of the sink, Cruya piped,

"Soo... I'll be in, in a sec... I gotta take out these lenses. "And she fumbled in the cabinet for the cases. Saudi stood in the other room, sighing a, "Yeah Cru... whatever... "Cruya placed a lens in the case and glanced wantingly at the razor which sat poised on the toilet tank. Taking out the other lens she thought, just an arms length away ...

"Cru... you should come and eat. "

"Okay... I'm done anyway. "Turning on her heels, she clenched her fists, clicked out the light and faced the music.

...It was really the end. I didn't know it then but it was the end. I was too much, not David...me. Try telling that to the Priest. David was in, when Saudi was already there and every time I looked at her I would wish I never existed but you can't wish that when so many things depend on you to make them happen. I hurt making love to her because of what I was doing to her in the first place... not allowing her to love me. Denying her the right to feel even though I didn't give a damn. But that thing David made me see, was still there...

"S'how is it? "Cruya entered the bedroom, her palms flat on the sides of her towel as she watched Saudi sit naked, on the desk, eating Jareds' Pasta Pesto.

"Taste for yourself. "She reached out an arm with a piece of spinach and corkscrew pasta toward Cruya. Cautiously Cruya came forward, taking the morsel deep within her mouth, along with the two fingers that held them to sample. Slowly she tasted the pasta, kissing Saudis' fingertips as she backed away.

"Delish! Jared is good... "She smiled wickedly. Saudi sat Indian style, un-amused

"Don't forget about your sandwich. "

"You know I would never forget about chicken salad... "

"No... I don't know that. "Opening Cruyas' to-go box, Saudi shoved a sandwich half in her face. "Here...take this already. "

Stepping forward, Cruya grabbed the sandwich with both hands, bringing it to her mouth like it was an offering from the Gods.

"Thanks... "

"You do have brown eyes don't you... ? "Saudi stared at Cruya long and hard before attending to her pasta.

"Yeah, I wear those contacts so much...people think I am the only person on earth with purple peepers. "

Finishing her sandwich half, she strode to the dresser and plucked out a short cotton gown.

"Hey... why aren't you dressed yet? "

"I dunno, I guess I was more hungry than tired. "

"You're still wet... let me get that. "

So I wiped her back. Like I was supposed to at first...then, it changed I guess. I never really looked at her before. Usually when we met, it would be dark or one of us, mostly me, would be high or something stupid. The way she was sitting, her back bowed out a bit and I saw the bones of her spine. And her skin was tan, even though she never went to the beach a day in her life. It must be that Hispanic blood that I was first attracted to. Smooth. I can't believe I never noticed. She sat Indian style... on my desk. Her thighs just inches off the table top. I backed up a bit and noticed the heat aura around her soft, tan tush.

Saudi sat still for a while and noticed the silence of her friend. Pushing her meal away, she straightened her back.

"You never noticed did you? "

"No... I was always so high... I'm sorry. "

"I think this has been your only sober time since... "

"Yeah... since Cleverton. I'm so sorry Soo... "

"Sorry? God Cruya... "

Saudi turned, hopped off the table slipped on her pajamas and stared at Cruya.

"You have no idea Cruya... no fucking idea... "

Cruyas' face knotted.

"After I found you that time and hauled you off to emergency, I was sure you'd be dead. Every time you felt like fucking up, I'd be there to clean your ass. I was gonna leave you there Cru... not even ID your body... DAMN IT! "

Tears streamed from Cruyas' eyes, unyielding, while she held her breath.

"... and these past few months... I'm not sure if Cleverton helped or fucked you up more. When your parents told me you were in a 'mental health facility' ... "She frowned, looked to the gray carpet and crossed her arms.

"If this isn't love Cruya... I don't know what it is that's keeping me here. "Cruya put the towel over her mouth and squeezed her eyes shut. When the crying subsided, she walked toward Saudi and hugged her, melting into her body.

"Saudi... I am so sorry honey... God I'm sorry.

"Nothing made sense... I didn't know what to do... <mmm::gulp::> I still don't know what to do... "She backed away, hiding behind the towel.

"The people at Cleverton kept me so drugged half the time I didn't know which way was Hell. Then my parents... and then I came back and saw what shape I left you in... How..."Her delicate eyes filled like coffee saucers, "... how am I supposed to make things right Saudi? How? I fucked up so bad. "She dropped the towel and embraced herself , falling to her knees.

"I can't even begin to describe how it's been these last few months... wanting you but not being able to love you... because I've felt so guilty about everything... it never should have happened Saudi... there were no reasons for the things I did... "

Saudi knelt down in front of Cruya, shushing her quiet.

"Shhhhh... your parents... "Obliging, she curled into Saudis' arms.

"I'm sorry Soo... I'm so sorry. "

Saudi raised Cruyas' head and looked at her eyes.

"Cru... all you had to do was tell me... I would have understood. We could have dealt with it. "

"Deal? Deal? Saudi... he raped me... I could never deal with that... "

"Baby look... you're dealing with it now. You're here with me... "

"Saudi... "

"I know... I know, it hurts more than life. But he is the one who has the problem, he is the one who's dirty. "

"I know Soo... "She smiled, "...I went through all that with Dr. Schwitz.... I just..."

Sitting on her heels, she wrapped the towel back around her.

"I feel like there's this big hole between you and me... and I don't know... I don't know how to fix it... it makes me angry Soo... I want things to be back the way they were. "

"I don't want them back the way they were... half the time you didn't know what was going on... I want to start over. "

Saudi sat back on her heels and took Cruyas' hands in hers, stroking the backs with her thumbs.

"I wanna start over. "

Alexandra J.P. Silver, 21, is a third year English Major. I love to write stories and poetry and can be reached at AJPSilver@aol.com
©1996 Oasis Magazine. All Rights Reserved.