Bitch. After all he did for her. After all I did for her. She was my last hope.
The sweet smile on the scarves I resent creating turned to smirks, mocking me now, reminding me of what I was so close to gaining; what I will now never receive. What will happen to him now? He was foolish to think I wouldn't know about their little rendezvous. I pity her, almost, if she thought he had any real feelings towards her. Just like the last one he saw her as an opportunity for a quick fuck, someone to play childish games of scrabble with. He's lucky I don't tell the Eyes about his stupid games and magazines, it would jeopardise both of our lives; or what we have left of them. Till death do us part. Those words were promise at the time, now just an empty shell of past feelings. The irony of it all is almost painful now, physically and mentally. It all seems so long ago. Now it is too dangerous to think about my former life, our former life. They'll use it against us. There are no opinions now, just facts.
He walked into the room I used to call ours. The scarlet chair with a pale heart cushion. The skirted wooden dressing table, with the four-poster bed with a dull sagging grey canopy. All from a time before. They let us keep these trivial yet significant items. The room is not warm. Now, the room is just a reminder of the treachery that occurs within. He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself – Proverbs 6:32. He has destroyed hat had already been destroyed. He is aware of everything I feel, he's not ignorant. Ignorance is bliss, my mother once said to me. But she was wrong, ignorance is misery; knowledge is bliss. Yet knowledge is outlawed. Little is allowed within this large yet confined dense nation. All importance has dissolved. Vanished. My rights and identity have been stolen from me. You only realise how important something is once it's been snatched away from you. It was all so easily taken. No one dared to retaliate. No one stood a chance. There is no power in numbers, whoever said that was naive or simply a liar. My husband, too, was taken from me. The nature of his timid stare, his bereaved ice blue eyes and dull, lifeless hair combine to create an image I once would have sympathised with. Not anymore. The image has been clawed by vultures ravishing what they can, hungry for anything with flesh, dead or living. I am living but I am not alive. I used to live.
The flashing lights blind me, the explosions of luminosity slicing my eyeballs. The camera clicks deafen me, consuming my senses. The sweet sweat of the paparazzi fill my nostrils. The heat from the stage lights melt my thick, once perfect make-up. Undoubtedly one of my many layers of mascara is now on its forecasted pathway down my rouged cheek seeping over the contours that make up my mask. A result of that perfectly timed tear. They'll love that to feed off, savouring the bitterness. The trail of the tear cold. But still, I relish the moment, inhaling as much as possible. It will not last forever, I am aware of that. But within this euphoric moment, I am the games keeper, with the countless faceless strangers shouting my name from all corners of the studio, I am in control. I am the decider of my own actions. I am whoever I want to be. I am living. I am 'Serena Joy'.
I used to think of myself as beautiful, important, the rise of dawn after the darkness. Not anymore. I am an empty vessel but still fruitful. I am deemed as worthless, a defeated woman. A bleak, outdated version of my former self, a rotting apple turning to mould as time passes. The creviced valleys above my brows a reminder of the years that have passed. The crow's claws that guard my eyes like tree trunk rings. The nightmares that consume me at night, full of images of my former self, adored by my audience, the world. A cruel reminder created by my own subconscious.
"So what do we do now?" He suddenly looks twice his age. His once youthful handsome face vanished. Just a memory. That's all I have left now, memories, visions when I close my eyes. You have to be careful of thinking too much about the time before, the past. But those memories will fade soon. In another generation the past will be a myth. A bed time story. A warning. We are all archetypes in this regime. Shells of our former selves. Empty body bags waiting to be filled.
"What do we always do? Forget. Act as if it never happened." Pretend you haven't had another emotional affair with another whore. It has become instinctive to block. Blocking out what we do not wish to believe. Believing in what helps us drift to another place when we close our eyes. When the screams and images of the ones we once loved fade from our closed eyelids. I look down at the blue dress that defines me. A daily reminder of the consequences of my actions from before. I'll never escape this. You'll have to do what scares you the most they used to say. So what if what scares me the most is giving in? I could so easily give myself to Gilead. I could believe what I say and do. But that would mean giving up. By giving up I would believe the story I am telling is more than a story, that it is my life. I'm not ready to give up. Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.
My eyes fall on a withered almond blossom in the corner of the room. The head of the blossom, its sense of beauty and purpose was the first to go, then the foundation. It has become crisp and now brown, its petals float to the ground. Falling to their grave. Crumbling as gracefully as it once had blossomed. Dying because it once lived. Living to die. I'll have to pick another flower tomorrow. A marigold, maybe. Or a monkshood. I'll go to the market afterwards. I might buy some cigarettes whilst I'm there.