Oil by Fabian Perez
We shared secrets once upon a time, our thoughts fused, harmonious as though we were one soul, not two. I never asked your opinion; rarely did it differ from mine. We played our games at the expense of others – everyone knows that children can be cruel, and the weak suffered when we sharpened our tongues. Our beauty and youth protected us; no one dared to mention the word ‘bully’. You were my world and I was yours.
Then Maria arrived. At 15 she was already a woman, with Latino eyes that glowed with promises of passion and with a shape that drew hungry stares from all of the boys. Your loyalties shifted and suddenly I was invisible. From the side-lines, I watched as this witch cast her spell and I had no power to warn you of the danger. The remainder of my school years were not easy – victims do not forget or forgive. Your new love rallied their support and I was made mute. Friendless, I left those school days behind me but the lesson was not lost.
People say that I have grown into my looks. My once willowy figure has swollen so that curves accent my tiny waist and shapely legs. At great expense, a surgeon softened my face. Illicit earnings paid for the changes (but that’s a secret you aren’t allowed to share). It isn’t hard to get lost for a while – I didn’t need forever.
‘So, here we are again. Who would have guessed that we would run in to each other? Do I know what you do now? Please tell me, I want to know it all.’
Are you able to read my mind? Can you detect the plan? Of course not. You are enticed by my shape, and my eyes, and the messages I imply.
‘Two children within two years. That’s a lot of work for you. Yes, I understand. You must be so tired. Why doesn’t your wife understand? No, I don’t have children, life is too good. No husband either.’
Do you know that I am reeling you in? Tantalising you. I know you. You were my soulmate. You still are. Let me in again and I will show you dimensions of my personality that you never knew.
‘Yes, I have a wonderful career. My job takes me to exciting places. I do meet interesting people. Things are never dull.’
Are you envious? Is that a spark of desire I spy? If I move a little closer, will you be able to resist – the swell of my bosom, the scent of my perfume? Not too fast, it’s better to wait for what you want. Can you feel the heat of my hand against your ear, the warmth of my breath?
‘Can I let you in on a secret? Are you able to guess what it is? Something to do with lust. Keep trying. You’re close.’
The bulge in your throat moves as you swallow and a sweat is dampening your brow. I pretend to stumble and your arms reach out. We are a perfect fit, my dreams have not misled me.
‘This wine is going to my head. Time for bed. Would you? I may not get there on my own.’
Everything is ready upstairs. Two wine glasses half filled, one stained with the print of my lips. A rumpled bed. The camera. An envelope addressed to a tired mother.