roses are red
Roses are red, violets are blue, monopoly is boring and Jasmine loves Levi. Or so she tells me.
Jasmine laughs girlishly over one end of the phone, and I giggle sleepily. "Tell me more, Ivory. I need to know everything."
"I dropped a good word in for you," I say, smiling, tracing my finger over the white lace of my duvet.
"And? What'd he say? Like, did he seem interested?"
I decide to lie, just to make her evening a little brighter. "Well, he smiled, and he looked at the floor. Nothing major, but-"
"We're practically married," Jasmine whispers, and we both burst out into quiet laughter, because its 12:50 at night, and Dad will strangle me if I wake him up. He's a walking minefield, and I'm never prepared for his untimely explosions - but I do know how to keep the matches from lighting, and survival 101 is let him get his sleep.
"Look, I'll see if I can set the three of us up for a meal, or whatever."
Jasmine interrupts. "No, no, no. There has to be more than three of us, so you can start talking with someone else and I can talk with Levi. We shouldn't invite Rae. She's too pretty. What about Cory? Ugh, no. I don't want to look like I hang round with bad company. Stefan isn't much better, and Danila is a fucking nightmare-"
"Charles is sweet, and he's intelligent."
"Yes, you're absolutely right. As usual. Charles is perfect."
I groan. "But he's crushing on you, and it would break his heart to watch you flirt with Levi."
"We don't know he likes me, and anyway, you'll be distracting him," Jasmine says, and I can feel her wicked smile on the other end of the line. "We'll go for a meal - really sociable."
"Mhm, somewhere nice. But not too pricey. I'm broke."
"Yeah, we're all broke after that crazy shopping trip Rae issued. I bought a Dior lipstick, Ivory. What was I thinking?"
"You were thinking Levi. You better wear it sometime, or the money really will be wasted." I yawn, my eyes involuntarily closing in the sharp, staccato white light of my phone. Its almost utterly silent, excluding the starry-eyed squealing of Jasmine.
"Its too perfect to use! Oh God, what will I wear?" She yawns too, and I vaguely wonder whether or not yawn particles can pass through a mobile phone or not. "Ahh I'm so tired-"
I yawn again, and again, my eyes watering slightly and brain a fuzzy mess, like its been sizzled by the TV and phone I've been using since eight. "Yeah, so am I."
"Tomorrow?" Before I can reply, she juts in- "And no sitting by the church, and no sitting in the fields. No monopoly. No more green beans. I'm sick up to here of your moping."
I feel a shiver of anger down my back. I put the phone down, and as I do, my bed is plunged into sea water darkness. Loneliness sometimes makes me feel strong: but when the sun goes down, I feel cold. I need Jasmine's sing-song voice down the other end of the line, I need Levi's hand on my shoulder, I need Mum's stupid muttering and Dad's careless comments or the Priest's droning voice or even Rae's sly slander about the rest of the world. When the sky goes black, I can only think.
Creamy morning light kisses the duvet, and I close my eyes, savouring the last few moments I can stay in bed. There's not much I need to do on a saturday morning, excluding asking Levi out to a meal with me, Jasmine and Charles? I giggle at the thought. Levi will know exactly what a meal means.
And he finds Jasmine annoying.
I pull my hair into a bun and stagger into the bathroom to wash my face. In the mirror, I look disgusting. My face is peaky and pale, though I swore I tanned a little yesterday, and my eyes are red. I don't remember crying last night, but it wouldn't be the first time. Maybe it was after Jasmine's careless comment about how she was sick of everything mourning my sister, Isabela.
Which everything is doing.
The priest crosses his heart every church service and gives me a sad, wistful smile: we started attending mass after Bela's funeral, since Mum said it gave her some peace.
Dad hates God, and I get bored of the ten minute gaps between each of the priest's words. Silence for 'effect'.
I sit down at my dressing table, and begin to apply all my drawers of make-up. Ivory foundation and soft, sandy powder, brown mascara and a cat flick of eyeliner, damp red lipstick that looks a little like rain-drenched poppies. Two silver studs in my ears.
As I follow Peggy, our silly scottie dog with a beard, down the stairs, I see Mum twirling her fingers around the petunias on the window sill. They are frilly pink and messy, the insides exploded with an avalanche of snow.
"We'll have to replace them soon. Breakfast?" Mum says, pulling out some melon and grapefruit from the fridge.
I fiddle with my hair. "I'm not that hungry."
Mum looks at me sadly. "You're not eating well, love. All you want is-"
"Coffee." I finish, switching the kettle on. "I don't feel hungry."
Mum pops a grape into her mouth, and ties her dressing gown a little tighter. "Fine. For now." She leaves me in the kitchen, shouting behind her something about me catching my death of cold. All i'm wearing are some shorts and a loose tee, but, after all, it is summer. I watch her saunter up the stairs, humming some frightfully old song, and although it makes me sad: it also sparks anger. Any mother in her right mind would be forcing toast and cereal down my throat, like she used to, but now I'm just an irritating fly buzzing around her head. Someone else's little girl, not her responsibility.
I sip the coffee, but its burnt, and the bitter aftermath stings my tongue. I add a cube of sugar to sweeten it, or perhaps just to overrule the things I don't want to taste.
I text Levi, can u come to Rose tonight with me?
just me and u?
Charles & jas want to come
Pls it'll b fun once we arrive Xx
I groan, and tap my fingers on the thin screen. Grouchy. Grumpy. My fingers tap on the bed table, as I wait for his stalling. 3, 2, 1- A text flits across my screen, from Levi.
I smile, and run my tongue over the familiar tang of grapefruit. I hope Jasmine is happy.