Skin and Bone
Eight surgeries, twelve hair dye experiments, 1,834 hours of video observation, two years of yoga practice to try to make up that extra inch of height, and the public loss of gluten.
That’s what I’ve gone through for love. That’s everything I’ve given up–all the money I’ve spent, all the hours I’ve invested–to finally be with the man I’ve loved for more than a decade.
They say nothing worth having comes easy.
Everything comes with a price.
I’ve paid my dues. I’ve been more patient than anyone could ever comprehend.
And now it’s finally my time.
I step from the closet into the bathroom. I check my makeup. What the surgeries couldn’t accomplish is made up for with some well-practiced cosmetic techniques. The contour is just right. The eyebrow lift did exactly what was needed. My jaw is still sore, even though all of the swelling and bruising has finally gone away.
But as I apply a coat of lipstick--Apple Sunrise, her default color—I smile at myself.
Even my teeth required altering. Thirty-five thousand dollars, and they look just right; are just the right shade of white.
I am my own creation and I have to admire my hard work.
I press my lips together, blowing my own reflection a kiss, and step out of the bathroom. I cut through the nearly empty bedroom and aim for the dining room. My laptop sits on it, a cheap piece of technology, because after today, it’s going in the crusher of the cement company down the road.
Can’t leave any evidence behind.
Which is tragic, because really, this amounts to the same amount of work as a doctoral degree.
It’s okay though. I’ll take the loss, so long as it gets me the prize, the reward for all my hard work.
I open the web browser and sign into my email.
Just seeing the signature at the top of the page feels good. My insides flutter in excitement. Goosebumps wash over my skin.
Sawyer James at IMT Homes, I type in the address. I attach just one file and leave the body of the email empty. In the subject line, I type It was never really about you.
But that’s a lie. She may not be my main target, my main motivation, but there are fourteen years’ worth of resentment that brought us to this point.
My gaze re-focuses on the screen, and once more, I see my reflection.
Perfect, soft blonde hair. Blue eyes that border on green, thanks to contacts that are purely for color, not prescription.
A pretty face with hope in her eyes.
Here we are. One last out before it all goes down.
One last opportunity to change my mind.
I see myself smile in the screen.
Not a chance. I’ve worked too hard for this.
I press SEND and smile.