The Unravelling

by Owaiz

The spotlight was on. They walked one after the other, all of them stunning. But she stopped the show. She wore a well-fitted loose gown, and you could tell she was the only who could carry it; she must be blue-blooded somewhere down the line. A look at her face and you’d forget every girl you’d ever seen before. The other girls walked the earth proudly, heads held high. She walked with the earth beneath her feet. She knows, she understands, she has it all figured out. I forgot to blink and breathe the moment I set my eyes on her ethereal face. My heart ached as she turned around and left. I had to see her again.

Everyone left but I waited outside in my car, lighting one cigarette after another. Had to kill time somehow. Then I saw her come out, still beautiful. She slid into a fancy car and drove off. I followed.

She got off outside an average looking home. Must be visiting someone. I followed. I wasn’t being inconspicuous, I wanted her to know I was following her. I wondered what she sounded like. Was it like rose petals falling in the bloom when she opened her mouth? Her lips certainly were fresh and red like the most perfect rose you’d ever seen. You’d want to kiss her right there and then, but this was not my lechery, this was something more. But she seemed lost in her own world–or she was tired. She ought to be tired after a long day like this. She went inside and locked the door, and I hurried to find a window. Had to see her one more time.

A light turned on, I hurried to the window. It was the dining room. I saw her ghost as it disappeared back inside, her white gown trailing behind her. She set the table: plates, napkins, food, cutlery, drinks. It was quaint, dainty. A vase with brown roses sat in the middle, potpourri scattered around it. A candle near her, half-burnt, different shades of red, sparkling. The food looked delicious: a sumptuous feat. Such rich life!

I pressed my face to the window as she took a chair. She looked around. I know she saw me, but her eyes didn’t pause for a second around me. Was this usual for her?

She wrote on the napkin and got up. Tossed the napkin out the window and I caught it. She returned to her seat, limping on the way back. How exhausted are you, you perfect angel.

I unfolded the napkin and read. Was she talking about the food or her life?

She placed a heavy hand on the table, wiped her freshly-dusty fingers with her white gown. Dirty angel, smeared her dress. She took out the takeaway food, took a few bites without enthusiasm, threw the napkin across the table. The dry, wilted roses shook slightly, shedding a few more petals for the potpourri. Now they looked ugly, an aged man with half his teeth missing. I stood on my toes to get a better view. The candle didn’t have shades of red, it had a glorious ruby past. It had a faded-red present. The fire had gone out; no wick, just wax. Useless. Her feet bled, shards of glass on the floor; no one had bothered to clean up.

I should’ve taken a picture before and left, before her life unravelled. I look at the napkin as the wind begins to stroke my hair.

My food looks good, I know. But it tastes bad. I know because I’m the one who eats it.

I hand the napkin to the wind and leave. Another perfection ruined, another chance to envy lost.