The tinkle of giggles rung through the air, slightly treble, and slightly baritone. A morning glow illuminated the gilded design on the bedposts, glimmering with beaming joy and scintillating hope. There were not stars, but the diamonds of the gracious chandelier, speckling rainbow freckles upon the blanche of the white walls. Dust danced in the air as we did, tumbling over the snowy duvets in light-hearted harmony.
The muffled pounding of my heart escalated into a cacophony of timpani, no longer muffled by the mute of the pillow. Gentle were the playful thumps of feathers; and gentle now, your fine fingers, as they guided mine towards your lips. You left an affectionate imprint on the tip of my fourth knuckle.
“Good morn, mon amour,” you professed, your eyes crinkling into gentle crescents.
“Not this again,” I glanced away, hiding the small smile that emerged uncontrollably on my face.
“You’re wearing chiffon,” your fingers trailed up my shoulders, caressing the white fabric lining my arms, your gaze following along. You fingered the laced embroidery of my collar, delicately brushing past my neck.
“It’s cotton,” I corrected, looking back up. “And we’re not in a cottage, or on a farm, or anything sweet like that.” I sighed lightly, and your eyes swivelled to meet mine, a candid look of innocent nonchalance in your gaze.
“So what?” Your response was followed by a cheeky grin. “I’m here with you.”
I opened my mouth to deliver my retort, but you trapped my words with the urgent kiss that fell upon my lips.
To be living in a dreamscape of clouds and whirls of light;
— I was.
Anguished beeping permeates the thickness of the polluted streets. The lampposts illuminate the sneering of the senseless marble statues; I hasten past them as fast as I can. I tumble over the old cigarettes on the sidewalk, someone’s lost leather jacket, a broken credit card. I trip, but don’t stop.
The blanche of the white walls blurs into my tears as I chase the door. Those pasty white walls, blemished with the tears of those who had lost, heavy with the weight of emotion hanging upon it, invisible paintings, pain hidden beneath silly framed pictures of idyllic landscapes, silly little fantasies.
There you are; there you are. There, there.
The palette of the tinted, stained, tainted glass blends with the dying light in here, blueing your pallored face, still, unmoving, stationary.
You’re wearing cotton. I know that now. My fingers trail up your shoulders, caressing the white fabric lining your arms. You’re right—we’re not in a cottage, or on a farm, or anything sweet like that.
“So what?” I smile wanly, crystals falling from my eyes. “I’m here with you.”
The line draws thick and clean; scissors driving roughly through the dense fabric of despair in the room.
The tinkle of giggles rings through the air, slightly treble.
Of course I hear it;
I could never forget it.
Written by Annika Lee, and edited by Ellen Wang. Published on 9/10/2021. Header image by Maggie Xian.