compulsion. obsession. perfection. unconditional love.
“I organized this closet seven times today and it’s still a mess. Why am I so worthless?” Mel’s palms wet with her tears and even that makes her feel shame and guilt. How imperfect she always feels.
“But, honey. This looks great,” Nellie tries to soothe her girlfriend by sitting down on the floor and embracing Mel’s fragile and bonnie shoulders. But Nellie’s words never ease Mel’s anxieties. They only aggravate and pester Mel’s uncontrollable and unrealistic believes more so.
The yellow thread weave of Mel’s favourite sweater has pulled out of its sorts and Mel have plopped to the floor unable to put her thoughts back together ever since. How such a minuscule hiccup would make her fall apart? Why things can’t just stay perfect? Undamaged, unspoiled, unpolluted, unscratched, unclean, uncut, unhurt, un… and she wonders why there are so many more synonyms for a frown than a smile? Why there’s an antonym for every beauty? Why there are more negative and unfavourable words than kind and nice ones? Or at least, why do people use the unfavourable more? “But, it’s not perfect,” and the tears make their appearance and like the cast of the theatre show bow at their exceptional performance.
Nellie gently pulls Mel’s collar of her blouse and smiles as if fixing it. “I know. Life isn’t perfect and I’m sorry about that. I wish I could make it all perfect.”
“I’m not perfect,” because Mel would wash her hands every five minutes to remove the smudge that was washed out an hour prior. Because she would sweep the floor because every time the sun brightly hit the floor, she would see the dust settling on the porcelain. Because she has been told many times to smile more and toss her frumpy clothes to a dumpster. “I’m not perfect,” just like an echo, her words fade with the second ripple. “Maybe I shouldn’t go, all so distraught?” and she gets up to wash her hands again for the fiftieth time.
“Love you,” Nellie’s attempt to sound loving lands somewhat deflated as she moves to the bed taking the folded sweaters and placing them inside the drawer. What has her life come to other than stashing her feelings into drawers with the folded sweaters, or socks, or jeans, or whatever Mel was unable to decide on? The leftovers of clothing that never made it to their final destination because Mel got stuck in the loop of doubt and feelings of wrong moves. Although tonight, Mel looked perfect, beautiful, all put together, with the impeccably manicured red polished nails, the matching lipstick, the up-do that most likely took an hour to construct.
The pinkish-nude blouse that was steamed so no single crease left visible hangs untouched because Mel most likely decided to hide behind her oversized yellow sweater. The sweater that’s now blemished by the one loose thread and Mel went off to wash her hands to for a moment ease her anxiety. For a moment to tear at her self-esteem. For a moment to drown the sound of her crying with running water, only to emerge from the bathroom rid of the sweater. Standing in her bra, makeup free, the nail polish gone, Mel crawls into the bed, all weathered and exhausted. Nothing can be out of sorts and if it is, the bed is the safest place to live.
“Forgive me,” Mel whispers and Nellie forces a tiny grin, brushes Mel’s back, and embraces her girlfriend with all of the mighty love she hopes would transmit over. The warmth that keeps Mel protected and forgiven.
© Jacob Greb — 2019
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