Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Rainbow in Drab

If there could be a worse choice, a sadder selection, she certainly didn't want to know what it was. Infinite spectrum beckons and to be forced onto the one path she dreaded, well, perhaps there was an ironic justice, a karmic balance in it, if she looked deep enough, but she didn't want to go there, remove the first tendrils of scab cheeseclothing across her wounds. Too much of her life had been wasted in sucking mud, paralysis a function of the plethora of ‘what ifs', everything coated with a thin layer of bleak, just enough to turn it to drab.

Drab is a color. It really is. It's a sort of greyish khaki, not a green or yellow khaki, a greyish khaki with goes with nothing, not even itself. Drab is her life.

She blew a smoke ring, watched it halo the moon. Angels have halos, so she'd been told, although she'd never seen one. The closest she'd come to seeing an angel was the man in the moon wearing a smoke ring, harbinger of death. Some people refer to nurses as angels, but she couldn't see the connection. Nurses dispensed pain, not painkillers. She blew another ring, another mist of drab.

Not making a decision is also a decision because, at some point, options disappear.

Can't find shoes in drab, she thought, unless you get them dyed to match and if I'm getting shoes dyed to match, I suppose I'm a step closer to dying, aren't I? Which isn't the worst thing in the world, not by far, not compared to what else is out there, to what she had already seen, felt, endured. The cigarette scorched her fingers and she stepped on the butt. Smoke danced with the dust motes, then seeped into the dark behind the moonlight.

Her only vice. Why give up the only pleasure left? Liquor made her heave, most foods did, too. Sex? She couldn't remember the last time she'd had anyone other than herself or her doctors manipulating her crotch. She pulled another out of the pack. My perfect friends, never asking, demanding, criticizing, a hot comfort in my lungs, the only part of me that isn't cancer riddled.

It was back. Or perhaps it had never left, despite what they'd told her, done to her. Back. Another full moon closer. She marked time by the moon, sun cycles were too long for her. Short term goals only now, no point in long term. Setting a long term goal was another sort of smoke ring, another fantasy she'd never fulfill.

She looked in, eyes closed, looked in at herself, at the only choice open so that it wasn't a choice at all, but a fait accompli, a non-choice, looked in to see if she could salvage anything from this shipwreck life that had been seized by Somali cells.

A tear leaked. No Navy SEALS coming to her rescue, no UN peacekeeping mission seeing to her comfort and well-being just like they'd inspected Terezin, making sure everything was A-OK. Nope. If there would be any rescue, she'd have to affect her own.

If you have nothing, you have nothing to lose.

The moonlight streamed down on the path of most resistance. The trees had backed off, the usual cathedral of leaves open to the mirrored sunlight, spots of bright drab on the path like pebbles leading to a somewhere else. Reflected sunlight doesn't register with the rods and cones, doesn't recognize hue, tint, intensity. Just drab and brighter drab. She sighed, looked at the unlit cigarette in her hand and wondered how many were left in the pack.

Every journey begins with a single step.

Drab. She hated drab. She wanted bright. She wanted purple hair.

And wings. She wanted wings, dragonfly wings, larger than herself. Multicolored dragonfly wings with four segments on each side so she could fly high enough to see the top side of the clouds and the moon never blacked out, not ever, maybe even see the sun. Fly high as Icarus, but instead she got drab.

She reached into her pocket for her lighter and pulled out a ten dollar bill.

She could buy hair dye, even if she couldn't buy wings.

No matter how bad it was, no matter how much worse it was going to get-and she knew it would get worse, the moonlight end and the drab eat her-she would go down with purple hair, or at least the dream of it.

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