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June 1, 2014 | by  | in Arts Online Only |
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Smudged outlines

The pot of black. The swirling mass of liquid shadows, clinging to the edges of the container reaching its tiny hands towards her. Leaving not so pretty fingerprints on her pale skin.

She dabbed a drop onto one finger and gazing in the mirror traces a broken line from the corner of her eye down her check.

Drip, drip, drip, drip, drip

The paint runs tear like. Caressing her jaw and marring her throat. Her eyes follow the trail then so do her fingers. Paint encrusted fingers, painting elaborate outlines on her naked body.

Her drawings grow more erratic, more expressive. She encircles her throat, painting phantom kisses down her chest, wrapping bruise like handprints round her wrists and tracing claw marks down her thighs.

Her lips were outlined, calves speckled, stomach a tortured mess of organs and nail marks. She covered herself, outlining every imperfection, revealing every insecurity. She mapped out a path of hatred on her body, her skin was a canvas of critique, a patchwork quilt so detailed even the most talented surgeons would not dare to make the first incision.

Finally the paint had consumed her, dripping from her eyes lashes, tangled in her blonde hair, smoothed over her scared wrists and calloused knuckles. She gazed into the mirror dissecting her reflection. She body was warrior like, the paint created armour protecting her vulnerability. A mask to cover the face she hid from view…….

Then the door was opening and a voice calling out and her breathing quickened and she was desperately hunting for a towel, a robe, a shirt anything to cover her nakedness, her vulnerability, her flawed body and he was knocking on the door and slowly, sliding it open and she was gasping, a wounded animal with nowhere to run and nothing to hide under and he was going to see going to see going to see everything……

“There you are, didn’t you hear me….”

And his voice stilled as his eyes settled on her. She stared at the floor. Covering her chest. Smudging her ink. Silence was an unwanted guest at the dinner table. She strained for him to speak. Every heart beat every gasping breath suddenly seemed loud, inappropriate and out of place. As bizarre as her human canvas.

He gazed at her for a lifetime. Storm raged in his eyes. The sea drained dry and mountains bowed to the sky in the time it took her to form thoughts, reasons, explanations and excuses.  His gaze was like the brush of fingers travelling subtly down her skin, over her makeshift tattoos. She gnaws on her blackened bottom lip. It took an age to find the words, even longer to meet his gaze.

“Last night you told me I was perfect.” She began, roughly pushing paint crusted hair from her eyes. Her fingers stuck and hair tore in her haste.

“But I’m not,” she unlocked her arms where they caged her ribs and offered herself to him. The lamb to the slaughter, the golden goose, Dorian Grey gazing upon his disfigured portrait.

“These are all the reasons.” She whispered, “Why I’m not perfect,”

And why I’m not worth loving.

The sand slowed from the hour glass in the moments it took him to gaze upon her once more. Then his lips quirked and he was moving, slowly, gently, the way a man who stumbles over a wounded deer would calmly approach and slow the galloping heart of the terrified creature. He took her hands in his and kissed each palm, each knuckle, the scratches on her wrists, the creases of her elbows, the slope of her shoulders continuing to follow the curse of her neck until he reached her lips. All the places where she saw herself coming apart at the seams he caressed. By this time he was also blackened and paint tainted but he didn’t see the poison. Instead he smiled and used his finger to trace her painted tears and mirror the marks on his own face.

Then slowly, slowly he started to paint his own flaws and insecurities. His body his own canvas, her body his paintbrush. He matches her lines and curves, her fears and imperfections. He painted the reasons he loved her onto his own skin and marred her own self hatred and disgust. He reminded her how well the puzzle pieces of their bodies fit together.

“See,” He whispered against her mouth. “We match perfectly.”

 

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Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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