Flashing Lights

She smiles for the camera as she walks down the path on the arm of that gorgeous, bearded man whose last name she is struggling to remember.

Birch? Beck? I think it’s Bryan…

She waves at the crowd that has gathered and tries to focus on not falling apart. She’s ready for the night to be over, her feet hurt in these too narrow shoes and she hasn’t taken a single breath since he zipped up this ridiculous dress. The mob of people seems to swell and inch closer to her, their hands stretch out to touch her, everywhere are screams and cries and she becomes confused.

She pauses for a moment as her date stops to pose for a picture and answer nonsense questions about what he’s wearing, who designed it, who cares? She wants to be back home in her comfortable, oversized bed, not in some ritzy motel with things so delicate she is afraid to touch them.

“I heard she does a line every two hours, she’s snorting his fortune right up her nose.”

She hears the whispers and sees the accusations they try to cover up behind fake smiles and insincere waves and she self-consciously glances at Him. He looks so calm and cool and in control but she knows him better than that and so she knows that inside he is a nervous wreck. She knows that his stomach is tied in knots and that he’s pouring sweat underneath that four thousand dollar blazer. She knows his feet are pouring moisture inside his fancy shoes.

She’s loved him for so long even though she sometimes forgets who he is. They’ve lived an eternity together yet sometimes she awakens in the middle of the night, terrified to see who it is sleeping beside her. In the darkness he is not himself. In her hazy, sleepy mind he is that monster and she shrinks back from him.

Every time the cameras snap she feels herself losing another memory. There goes  their first Christmas together. And next went their first vacation. Where exactly did they meet? Yet she maintains her cheerful smile and her laugh sounds like wind chimes blowing softly in the wind.

The next week she reads the articles in the tabloids about how she has been admitted into a mental institution and how he is filing for divorce and she gnaws her bottom lip as he holds her close.

“They just need something to talk about,” he whispers. “Everything is fine.”

She feels the tears burning behind her lids and she stares at him suspiciously. He sighs and hands her a plastic bottle, shaking it gently.

“You need to take one of these, you’re on edge.”

And as she swallows it down and wipes her tears, she hugs her pillow tight and tells herself that she is fine. They don’t know who she really is. They don’t see what is in her heart. But He does and he knows she is good and that is all that matters.

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