The front door slamming shut was what woke me up. At least, I think that's what it was. I forced myself to climb out of the bathtub and to the front door, to make sure it was the sound of someone leaving, and not someone arriving forcibly through my door. Greeted by the tail end of a taxi-cab making a rapid escape down the street, I start coming to my senses and realize what it must feel like to eat broken glass, and chase it with gasoline.
I've prided myself on my fortunate lack of hangovers over the course of the past few years, but I feel like I can barely stand right now. A quick check reveals that if I've puked, I've at least saved myself the humiliation of doing it all over myself. My mouth is dry, and tastes of blood and perfume. Not pleasant.
Where was I last night? I don't even remember leaving the house, but I do remember getting home. With her. Faceless, a shade of a woman.
My grandmother used to tell me that if I forgot something, to retrace my steps. I wonder if that works when you've blacked out.
So, going back to the bathroom would be my first step in my backwards march. I hurt, man; it's so bad that I can't even figure out what's sore. This shirt is on backwards, and it reeks of smoke, I pull it off and discover one thing that's sore. There's a smiley face heart burned into the flesh on the left side of my chest, and all around it, flames painted with blood.
She has me pinned down, knees on my elbows, a giggle, like a school girl, we're naked and she's lighting a cigarette... letting the flame burn, and I'm mesmerized by its dance. She's cut a square of flesh out of her left arm, and she's fingerpainted my chest with the blood. She tells me to close my eyes, and I feel the hot metal of the lighter press into my chest.
I get to my bathroom, and there's words written on the mirror, backwards, in neat cursive. My eyes can't handle reading right now, especially not backwards, nor in lipstick diatribes on a mirror.
I'm sitting in a bathtub full of hot water. There are glasses filled with ice floating around in it. Sometimes one touches me and shocks me back awake. I'm comfortable, but never for long. As soon as I drift into relaxation, a shock of cold against my skin again. She's up on the counter, kneeling and naked, writing something on my mirrors. She's talking of white rabbits, and cheshire cats, caterpillars on mushroom tops and mad hatters. She says that she is the queen of hearts, but she's not intent on beheading me. I ask her what she's writing, and she tells me poetry. She says it's not for me. It's for my twin, on the other side of the looking glass.
It takes me a moment to realize that's me on the other side of the mirror. It doesn't look like me. My hair is gone in clumps, neatly removed by some phantom barber in my sleep. I'm going to have to shave my head to even everything out.
We're dancing now, on the spine of the rooftop of my house. We've precariously balanced beer bottles with candles melted to them on the brick of the chimney. It's summertime, but there's smoke flowing from it. I've been burning paper, photographs, destroying everything that made me who I am. It's liberating, man. The plastic stench burns my nose a little, but I don't mind. She's kissing me; breathing smoke from her nose, from her mouth, into my lungs, into me. On the right of me, I can see the lights of the city, and on the left, I can see the angels we've burnt into the grass with gasoline and matches. Playing with fire, I burnt myself and lost some hair - she cut it out for me, gave me a new haircut for my rebirth as this new man.
Man, I'm parched. I need a drink. Walking into the kitchen, I see I've engraved my initials with a line through them into the wood floor in the hallway. A bit further down, and I've carved what would appear to be an homage to Picasso, a cubist rendering of a kiss.
Arriving in the kitchen, I'm amazed to see that it's clean. Cleaner than when I left the house yesterday, in fact. I open the fridge to grab a soda, some water, something, anything. But it's empty, except for a thousand sheets of paper, small and red. The vacuum created by opening the door has sent them flying like butterflies into my face, and onto the floor.
She's cutting paper into little squares, and kissing each one. A rhythm has evolved. Snip, snip, snip, kiss. Snip, snip, snip, kiss. Reapply lipstick. Repeat. I'm sitting on the floor again, in the corner, smoking a cigarette and staring at the moonlight in my kitchen. Watching the stars go by, shooting, falling, winking at me. She tells me that we all need a little love, even if it's the disposable sort. She's putting hers in the refrigerator so that it will last a little longer. Everything that was in the fridge is now in the garage, in black plastic bags with "detritus" written on them in white-out. She says "Quod me nutrit, me destruit" as she puts my milk into the bag. She tells me that it means "What nourishes me also destroys me". I'm lactose intolerant, so I'm forced to agree
Man, I wish I had that milk right now. My glasses are all gone as well, I'm not sure where they may have disappeared to. I'm forced to drink water from cupped hands, straight from the tap. I'll be goddamned if it didn't taste good, right at that instant.
Falling asleep, I'm in the bathtub again, she's talking to her reflection, wondering out loud if they're both really talking, just at the exact same time, same tone, same volume, so that they can't hear each other. The water is gone from the tub and somehow I'm comfortable with my bare skin against the white porcelain. It's cold, and comforting. It's the only real thing I've got left right now, everything else is negotiable, everything else is mutable. I realize I've forgotten her name, if I even ever knew it. I ask her, quietly to tell me.
She looks at me, and she leans over, brushing her lips across my forehead, across my temples, right over my ear. She tells me she's just a shooting star, and I'm just a little boy in a field making wishes.
Jesus. What was her name?