Another Girl, Another Day | Mhairi Campbell

Elegance, beauty, pain, desire. The dance continues.

Another girl, another day

Mhairi Campbell

Everything is Everything

Elegant to the point of pain, white silk and straps, hair wrapped into endless braids, and heels that pinch, I walk. The drink in my hands is empty, but they won’t fill it. I am a young lady after all. The light sparkles on the glass and I want more, I want more, I always want more. A young man is trying to talk to me, but what do I want with him? It’s the woman I’m focusing on, the woman in the red dress. It’s bright and her eyes are sharp, brown and beautiful and when she smiles I feel the urge to see through the dress to the next mask. A mask of skin and bone, dark copper, exotic but not forbidden.

She reminds me of a bird, light and dark, moving swiftly even when holding still. She meets my eyes. Blue on brown and she sees it, the longing, and shivers. I know her name. I have heard it on several occasions as being scandalous, overt, unbecoming, graceful and almost unwelcome at our party. But I am scandalous, overt and unbecoming, lacking the gift of being graceful and besides that shiver will always make her welcome. My partner takes that shiver for cold, and places his hand on my arm. I hate that feeling. She sees it, and makes her way forward, and if she touches me on the arm I think I may die.
She approaches me and introduces herself, forcing my partner to remove his hand and address her. Her voice is hard, not the honey I was imagining. But that makes me shiver all the more, because a voice like that is like flint and can make fire, especially in private. And for what I lack in grace, I make up for in burning. I smile at her, tracing her form through my lashes, and she shakes her head slightly, in reaction. Our names are exchanged, but words are meaningless.

My partner doesn’t understand this spark, and tries to pull me towards him, his sweaty palms staining the silk of my dress. They leave a trail of what I imagine to be slime, and I want her to melt it off of me. I follow her to the side of the room, alibi in place, and she turns back towards me, her eyes no longer brown but swallowed in pupil until they are lost in sensation. A sensation I can almost touch, but not quite, and so I follow her out of the room, upstairs, while my partner waits below, unaware of my deception.

The door to the room is golden, gaudy and new money, matching her bright red dress and dark pinned curls. My white silk is my skin, which I begin to shed, piece by piece, like the snake I am. I peel it off of my left arm, then my right, letting it slide down to the floor in a mess, staring at her. I know there is nothing in my eyes, they are as black as hers, smiling back at me. The red dress does not slide off, but rips right down the middle like flame, and I finally see her mask. It is a beautiful mask. The floor is deep green and as we burn together I am sure it changes to blue to brown and then to black, a nothingness that comes when I give in to this, my deceit.

The strap slides back on with a snap, my hair is braided back, and the sweat that drips from my nose is wiped away. Her red dress is put back together, piece by piece, and we walk out of the room, not a spark between us. The rain has washed it all away. As we re-join the room, the party is almost over. I accept the congratulations that come my way, my intended waiting to stain me again with his touch, and I catch her eyes as she leaves. They hold embers of a fire that will be rekindled another day, with another girl. I only ever heard her name, and hold my silk around me, masking my own ember that will burn, another girl, another day.