We died before she pronounced us dead. At first, we thought she was joking in the way she clenched her fists and laughed at the soft sound of his snores. But soon we accepted our gloomy fates for she was our creator and we were her subjects. She wrote uncertain words about flowers and fluorescent lights and told us about Joshua.
She created us, first as lovers, then as friends, and kept us separated in different layers of her books because she couldn't find enough happiness to hold her down. She was inexplicably free even though she was married and had her own books to keep her in place. She used to tell us she wanted to be free as a bird and we made her free. But sometimes I think we made her too free.
When she made us with blue ink smeared on white papers, we were happy. She made us in a way that we couldn't be sad, ever. I had a life I wanted even though it was she who plastered the words I needed. My name was Iniq and his name, Danli. He used to tell me he loved his name and the simplicity of our story and we thanked her and thanked her until we realized she hadn't created us to have an opinion for ourselves. She wanted to have a reason to stay sane and free.
She wrote words down and we knew those words by heart. She told me I loved Danli and I did because I knew not of any other thing other than love for him. She told Danli to hold my hands and kiss me and he did because he knew nothing else. She had a happy home and she wanted us to have one too.
The first real slap across her cheeks was the first time we knew something other than love. As she wrote about Danli hugging me closely, a tear rolled down her eyes and soaked his name in our white paged hearts. Danli looked at me for a minute wanting to say something but then she wrote again: See, she's happy with him in their house with the fluorescent lights and picket fence. So Danli looked at me and said those words. We both knew that she was breaking.
The second slap came a week or two later. We were in our room drinking tea as she told us when we heard the screams and then the slap. We heard him say she was a liar and we heard her say he was a dirty pervert. Next came the kick and later, silence. Total silence. Later she wrote about Danli and told him to say he loved me. And Danli came and told me he loved me. It was then, I believe, I started to doubt Danli. It was then Danli knew something other than happiness.
The next time he raised his hands against her again, we were afraid to exist in her own life as perhaps sidekicks. Willows, our maker, wanted something to love her and make her happy. She did not want the freedom she had so desperately craved for. She wanted something else so she wrote about kisses and I kissed Danli. She wrote about hugs and Danli hugged me until I started to choke. Then we saw the tears and looked away feverishly.
Willows made our love seem surreal and then bleak all at once and somehow I started to detest my creator. Then suddenly our lives began to wither and break at the edges.
We did not know how long it had taken our withered hearts to climb the mountains of our dreams nor did we have the slightest bit of knowledge as to why we woke up panting in the middle of the night with bloodstains on the pillowcase. We only know about Willows and her strawberry-blonde-haired husband with the forgetful face. We know that on June 20th, he slapped her and threw a vase against the kitchen door.
Soon Willows stopped writing about kisses and hugs and happiness. When Joshua slapped her, she told Danli to slap me. And because he was created, made alife with feelings, he slapped me. Then her tears would come down and stain our white hearts. After she had left us alone, Danli would beg and plead and tear off his sleeves. I forgave him because I knew she would want me to.
We know that after every slap, she would sit at her beautiful garden with the purple hibiscus and tell us that as he slapped her, she had felt like giving up.
Willows used to tell us about Joshua in a more beautiful rendering. She used to tell us about his overly caring acts such as when she woke up in the morning to the smell of coffee and lavender oil. She did not incorporate these details into our lives nor did she make us do things like that. Danli told me she had not made us do that because she wanted it to be unique. And I cried because it made more sense than our lives put together.
Until he raised his hands against her, I had always envied her. I know she created me from her imaginations and carved out words for me and yet I envied her unique love. Until she said something and he slapped her. Then she turned to a fresh page and wrote about the scars at her back, the ones made from the rough edge of Monday's belt, the ones he brandished across her forehead after every argument. After showing us, she would laugh as though it deserved to be funny for all our sakes.
We both know things about her, like her favorite cafe where she sits each day to write about a husband and the burns on her pale skin.
"He kept me locked in a room for hours, tearing at my hair and telling me I made no sense." She told us one day. The sun had just begun to shine through the curtains when all of a sudden, she wrote it out for us in her sheet of white paper. We looked at the colors on her cheeks and at the burns in her arms. We tried to look at her eyes but she was moving restlessly so we couldn't see the emotions running through her head.
We wanted to tell her we were sorry but she wouldn't let us. She couldn't find the courage to write apologizes in a piece of paper so we watched and prayed for her.
She made us as lovers. But as time passed and as she wrote more about beatings, she turned us to friends. Then with time, she made him hate his name and made me detest his touch. Just the way she did to Joshua. But alone in our world, we loved each other. We loved each other despite the fact that we knew we were simply characters in her books.
Today we are wrapped up in a blanket, one she created in a hurry, eating bagels and drinking fancy wines.
"I wish we could just be like this forever," I say.
"Me too. But she creates us each day with each new word. We live by her rules. We breathe as long as she lets us live."
"I know but sometimes we need to dream of being something or someone else."
He shrugs. He wants to say something to me but we hear footsteps and see her hand poised across the open page, ready to recreate us.
She writes: Dalin looked at her in disgust, pulling away with a shriek.
Dalin looks at me in disgust, pulling away with a shriek.
She reached forward to grab his arm but he pushed her away with anger and she fell and hit her head against the wooden planks.
I reach forward to grab his arm but he pushes me away with anger and I fall and hit my head against the wooden planks.
He said to her, " Don't come any closer, please. I need you to stay away from me."
Dalin says to me, "Don't come any closer, please. I need you to stay away from me."
She stops writing. We hear her husband calling. We see her vacate her chair and walk to him.
Dalin comes closer to me and holds my hands and kisses me. He says, "She is making me do this, please. I just cannot control myself."
"I know. Don't let us be like her and Joshua."
"We won't because I love you."
She comes back to the table and continues writing: Dalin looks at her and screams, "I hate you. I don't love you and I never have."
Dalin looks at me and screams, "I hate you. I don't love you and I never have."
We died long before she pronounced us dead and we are just waiting for the next slap and the I hate you's.