My hands are soaked in glitter. It feels liquid and soft against my palms, like a proof of something vulnerable.
I’ve tried to rub it off, but it stays in place, reminding me of him. Blood is maneuvering itself out from under the cracks in my scars, and I don’t know if the feeling clutching my stomach is one of pleasure or fear. I can’t feel the blood, but I can feel how it’s there. Maybe that’s why my hands feel so inexplicably sticky.
Someone calls out my name from behind me. I turn, panicked, as my heart seizes the tiniest piece of hope. I imagine the look on his face, the words forming in his mouth as he destructs everything to pieces - and stays.
My tongue’s bitterness overwhelms me when I see Liv standing in the grand doorway. I tug my hands behind my back and tell myself that I am okay. I’ll be able to conceive everything behind the mask as I’ve always done it.
“I never saw you after the performance,” Liv says. She’s already scowling.
“That’s because I left,” I say.
She stares at me questioningly, as if she’s trying to decide her mind about something. “Wil left. I saw him getting into a cab. Nicole told me he was going to the airport. Did you know?”
“I … yes. Of course.”
In that moment of truth it dawns to me what I have done. It could as well have been a dream as reality, and my body still feels irrationally numb from the sleep. I told him to leave. Pursue his dreams. But the part of the dream where he came back for me never came alive.
He is gone. Completely.
My tears are everywhere, yet only in my mind. The truth is that I can’t even bring myself to cry. Not now, when I have to admit to myself that maybe, just maybe, I knew it would end like this all along.
“Liv,” I say, almost stumbling over the dryness over my words. “I can’t get the glitter off.” I show her my hands. They are stained, spots of blue and terribly beautiful blood.
Then she is with me, and she is gripping my hands.
“What happened?” she asks.
“His face,” I say. “I touched it. Just one last time. But the stage make-up wore off on me, and I can’t get it off. I can’t get it off, Liv. I can’t -“
She puts her arms around me, pads my hair softly, and that’s when I know what it feels like. Your heart breaking. It’s like I can feel it happening. Our past slicing up my insides, poison filling up my veins and boiling away everything good until it reaches the center of my body. Right there, in my chest, I feel an ache coming, and it takes my breath away. I brace myself.
I don’t want to believe in a new love. Not ever. Not when he is gone and I, like a lonely stranger, am left to rotten on the outside.