I feverishly put on my makeup, my pale face now suddenly aglow with artificial cosmetics. My blood-red lips pop out against my skin, my feeble attempt of a contour offset. It looks awful.
In frustration, I grab a cloth off the counter, rubbing my skin so hard it has a soft pink color. I groan. I was never like Farina, a person who put makeup on so professionally that it seems like she was born to do it.
Stop. You’ll only feel worse.
I give up, rubbing the makeup off until my natural face shines back at me through the filthy mirror. I storm to my closet, yanking the door open to reveal my wrinkled and old clothes. I settle on a blue tank top and matching shorts. I grab my purse and look at my reflection.
My watery silver eyes still haven’t lost that dead look. The edges of my lips turn down, my short blonde hair desperately trying to touch my shoulder. As I look at the mirror, I see Farina grinning at me, her vibrant green eyes, smiling face, and long, blonde hair taunting me.
Cut it out.
I hear footsteps and see Mike standing in the hall, looking at me expectantly.
“Kinda,” I mumble, trying to make my hair bouncier rather than its usual wilted look.
“Well, I’ll be waiting in the car,” he says, walking off.
I roll my eyes. How thick can he be?
I throw on an oversized jacket, giving up on my hair. I step into some worn-out sneakers and follow him outside. He turns and looked at me, his eyes examining me.
“Can’t you wear anything nicer? Maybe some makeup?” he asks, his eyes on my shoes and old jacket.
I don’t answer, slamming the car door in my response.
If I had my way, Mike wouldn’t be living with me.
He gets in, staring at me through the rearview mirror. I ignore him, gripping the leather seat so hard they ooze stuffing. The seat belt over me feels like it’s suffocating me.
Mike glances at my face and rolls his eyes. “Oh please. Don’t go on again.”
I can’t help myself. Hot tears of anger form in my eyes.
“Oh great, here comes the waterworks! Seriously, can’t you get it together, or are you always going to break at the slightest words?” he asks sarcastically.
Anger bubbles in my stomach. Why did I even agree to this?
“If I bother you so much, then why not dump me?” I ask coldly, swallowing my tears.
“Because someone has to take care of you, with your dumb condition,” he says simply, getting the car out of the driveway.
I scoff. “Yes, and you are doing an amazing job.”
He glares at me through the mirror, and I glare back. I’m sick of him.
He starts driving, glancing at me from time to time.
I do feel bad. She suffered a loss, and here I am, making it worse. It’s just that she gets on my nerves with her crying. How can I change?
Oh god, we’re here. I remember how long it’s been since I’ve been to a party. I haven’t been to a party since…
Why. Must. I. Do. This. To. My. Self?
Mike sees my face. I expect him to get angry, but something in his gaze softens.
I get out, the air slamming against me. I stare at the building, looking exactly as I last saw it.
Mike gets out and grabs my hand. I flinch, trying to remember when the last time this happened.
He smiles at me and starts walking, dragging me with him.
I stare at him, confused. He’s never this nice, not since…
Will you give it a rest?
We go in, the room causing me to get dizzy.
It all brings it back.
“Hey, hey!” someone yells drunkenly, pushing a bottle of wine into my hands.
Mike drops my hand and goes to join a group of men, all laughing in a maniac way.
I lean against the table, trying to steady my breathing. I glance around the room, and my stomach drops. The air seems to freeze.
Oh god no.
They bring back such horrible memories.
It's Evan's fault for what happened that night.
Will you cut it out?
I inch towards a darkened corner, trying to prevent them from spotting me.
They’re already walking towards me.
Well, Callista is.
Evan looks like he would rather do anything else.
“Mryina!” Callista cries, hugging me. I cringe. “Oh, how are you, love?” she asks, pulling away and looking at me kindly.
“Gre- great,” I reply weakly, my eyes on Evan, his eyes right back at me.
He hasn’t changed one bit. His shoulders broad, face cocky, cold eyes sharp. How could I let myself fall for him?
“Sup,” he mumbles.
“Hi,” I mumble back.
There’s too much bitterness between us.
“So, what have you been up to, honey?” Cal asks, surveying me up and down, trying to hide her disgust.
That’s what she reminds me of.
She looks sweet on the outside but evil on the inside.
“Not much,” I mumble, letting the pink wine dribble down my throat, burning it.
“Hmm,” Cal thinks, her eyes sweet on the outside, cold and evil on the inside.
I see where the conversation will end up. I need to try and steer away from it.
“Hmm? Oh, thanks! You’re too sweet,” Cal gushes. I try not to roll my eyes.
Cal’s eyes glitter maliciously, glancing from Evan to me.
“Why aren’t you guys saying anything?” she asks innocently, her excitement alive in her beady eyes.
I cringe. Why?
“Umm, how are you?” I ask him in a rush.
He looks startled.
“Okay,” he mumbles, looking pointedly to the floor.
“Say, didn’t you guys used to date?” Cal asks, a shadow of an evil grin on her face.
My face burns. I mumble, “Gotta go”, and rush towards the door. Mike spots me but doesn’t follow.
I burst through the door, crumbling to the pavement, crying. What did I do to deserve this?
I glance at the sky, the stars glittering in the same way they did that night.
No. You mustn’t go there.
But I can.
But you mustn’t!
I laugh, my eyes swimming with tears. Farina grins. I glance towards the door, wondering what Evan’s doing.
“I’ll be back,” I say to Farina, going outside. I go to the parking lot and feel my face heat up.
Evan and Callista are leaning onto my car, their heads together, talking in low tones.
I walk towards them, my ears ringing. I always saw Evan and Callista talking together, but this is the end.
They think I don’t know about the sneaking, the whispering, the giggling, the late-night phone calls. They think they’re so clever, sneaking behind me, but I knew from the beginning. I always turned a blind eye, but this night, something deep within me snapped.
Evan looks up, his face beet red.
“Thought I wouldn’t notice, did you? Thought I didn’t know?” I ask, my voice cold and indifferent.
“Mryina, listen…” Evan begins. Callista is looking from him to me with a hungry expression on her face.
“No! I won’t listen, you disgusting cheat!” I scream at him.
I hear a door slam behind me and hear footsteps. I turn and see Farina running towards me.
“What happened…?” she begins and sees Evan and Cal.
I shove Evan and Cal away from my car and get in. Farina crawls in the passenger seat and looks at me, concerned.
“Mryina, don’t be like this,” she says quietly.
I cackle madly. “Don’t be like what?” I snap.
“Maybe, this isn’t what you think it is.”
I stare at her, dumbfounded.
“You know Evan loves you. He wouldn’t do this to you.”
I put the car in drive, putting as much space as I can between myself and Evan.
“I thought that too, but guess what happened,” I said bitterly, turning onto a deserted road.
“Mryina, please, listen to yourself,” Farina pleads.
I slam the brakes. “Listen to myself? He is a worthless cheat!”
“All they did is talk!” Farina exclaims impatiently.
I open my mouth to respond, but suddenly I see a flash of white. I look in the rearview mirror and see a truck.
The car flies, blinding me with red.
I hear a crack, my head slamming into the door.
My mind goes blank and a dull moan escapes my lips. I feel something on my shoulder. I would only know later that that was Farina’s head, blood dribbling down my arm.
Then, my body drifts off, and into the black void.
I feel a warm set of arms wrap around my shoulder. I look up, cheek wet, and am surprised to see Mike.
He smiles slightly, pulling me closer.
“Look, I’m sorry about how insensitive I was. You were hurting and I just made things worse. Will you forgive me?”
I grin weakly, tears still pouring steadily down my face. “Of course.”
He kisses the top of my head.
“Say, how about we go to the cemetery tomorrow? You can see Farina again.”
I grimace. I only ever went there for the funeral and never went back, not wanting to see the final resting place of my deceased sister.
“Come on,” Mike probes, “it might make you feel better.”
“Okay,” I relent.
A bouquet of sunflowers rests on the grave, Farina’s favorite color. She said it matched her eyes.
I try not to cry. The tombstone reads,
“Farina Walker, beloved daughter and sister”
Mike is standing next to me, one hand around my waist.
I always thought of my past with Farina in it. She terrorizes my dreams, my thoughts, my life.
It’s time I make my new future.
That party might have been dumb, but it helped me realize a lot of things.
The white, red, and black will no longer haunt me.