In his image
The room reeked of a musty, smoky odor. It was silent, except for the occasional, timely ticking of the clock in the background. The moon shone bright in the window, painting a stark contrast to the night sky. On the single-sized bed, a figure shifted underneath the blankets, revealing long brown tresses and rosette cheeks. Her pale face seemed to resonate peace in the stillness.
It was not long before a gentle gust of wind drifted in the room and the rustle of curtains signalled its arrival. The cool wind caressed the pretty woman’s face, and she finally awoke from her slumber. Her eyelids opened on their own accord, revealing tired chocolate irises that glistened in the moonlight.
She inhaled a shuddering breath, as though she had wept for ages the day before. Her thin, bony fingers clutched the blankets almost weakly as she pushed herself into an upright position. It took a minute for her to decide to get up, and she slowly padded over to the balcony in her sweatshirt and jeans.
Moments passed as she leaned against the railing, glancing down below at the vehicles passing by. The road seemed small from where she was. Suddenly, civilisation felt very, very far away. Her breaths came out as cold puffs in contrast to the night air. Her hand shifted to her pocket and dug out a familiar source of comfort. Gripping the stick gently between her lips and teeth, she fumbled for a lighter and lit it.
Peace, at last.
Her body relaxed as she took a drag from the cigarette, faded red lipstick decorating its whiteness. She coughed once, and proceeded to take another drag.
How odd it was, she mused, that she was at the highest peak of her life and yet, she had never felt so low. A wistful smile settled on her lips as she recalled a man’s honest words to her.
“You’ll never be happy, Lana. There is something ethereal about your sadness… It lingers and never dissipates. It’s almost as though you rejoice in it, and bathe in it.” She remembered the moment she heard it. Her head lay still against his rising chest, and she said nothing. There was nothing to say, because he knew her best. He was her lover.
His words lay burned in her mind till this day, even when he was already gone.
Her vision abruptly turned foggy, and a drop of water fell onto her fingers. Belatedly, she realised she was crying. She closed her eyes, wishing she could be free from the pain that gripped her chest with a white-hot intensity. It lingered every single day, and never seemed to leave her alone.
Yet, when she closed her eyes, she saw him everywhere. His face, his usual leather jacket, his slicked back hair, and his trademark smirk. She smelled his masculine, woodsy scent. She heard his deep, baritone chuckle and the special, special way he said her name, as though she were the only woman in the world.
It was paradise amidst the darkness. She didn’t know whether it was healthy to live in it, and she didn’t really care. All she knew was that she wanted him back, and it was the only way she could see him again.
Her breath came out in long cold puffs as she finally regained her sense of calm, gazing almost dazedly at the traffic below. The ground looked almost welcoming. Fear gripped her and she clutched at the railing. Her fingers turned white from the intensity of her grip, but she didn’t notice. For the millionth time she wanted to join him. She wanted to leave this place, and be with him.
She resisted the urge to scream, gritting her teeth almost painfully. Anger burned in her veins as she dwelled on the unfairness of it all. She had lost the man she was about to marry in a month.
Oh, the unfairness! It ran in her blood, taunting and cackling at her. Her mind screamed, but she stayed silent. Her legs went over the railing in a heartbeat, and for a moment, she was ready. Sitting precariously on the ledge with the cigarette still in one hand, she closed her eyes, and prepared to jump.
Then she saw him.
He came in the darkness of her mind, with shining blue eyes. While he uttered nothing, his eyes screamed everything. He was pleading.
He was pleading her not to do it.
With closed eyes still, she started to sob. It started at the back of her throat, and it spread through her body like wildfire. She clutched at the railing with her hands as she cried. It was all she could do not to fall off as she was suddenly attacked by heaving sobs and breathless cries.
Then, it abruptly ended, and she could not cry any longer. Her sadness dissipated, replaced with an eerie feeling of calmness, as though the crying was a cathartic release. Her strength returned, and she swung her legs back over to the balcony floor, brushing her sweaty palms on her jeans. It was just then that a buzzing noise erupted from her phone and she scrambled to the bedside to answer it.
“Get ready. There’s a lot of preparation to do before the show starts. Meet me downstairs in ten minutes… You’re going to be late otherwise.” There was an awkward pause, followed by the sound of him hanging up.
She placed her phone in the pocket of her jeans and stood up, fixing her tresses. Her eyes were still stained with tears, but she was sure the makeup artist could fix that.
One thing she knew was that no one could ever begin to fix the darkness in her heart. She was sure of that, she thought, as she took her belongings and made her way out of the room.
It’s okay though, she mused to herself as she squeezed her eyes shut and saw his comforting image again.
He made the darkness worthwhile, every single time she closed her eyes.