Metropolitan malls always get so congested with people. The hustle and bustle of tourists and locals are always a recipe for an energy sucking time. The roaring of the shoppers’ collected voices finally annoyed Jane enough to where she had to sit down on a bench outside of a shoe store.
Jane responded to a few texts, and planned the rest of her day out. She was in the middle of a text when she looked up and noticed two women talking in front of her. Immediately enamored, Jane put her phone down on her lap.
How lovely those girls look. I have never seen anything like it back home
from my small town. The green eyes! They’re so tall! Such pale beauties.
Jane couldn’t keep her eyes off the women. She was drawn to one woman more than the other. The pale woman with the green eyes caught her attention more. Her dark red hair was something she wasn’t used to seeing in her small town. She looked fantastic. The other woman had more of a soft beauty to her. She wasn’t as striking as her worldly friend.
Jane didn’t notice that the red haired maiden she was admiring from only a few feet away had caught her staring. Noticing, Jane quickly turned her head down to her phone and opened up a text message. Who she was texting? No one. It was just to save face. Jane might have understood what it was like to have a completely heterosexual admiration for the same sex. However, others might not understand that. She didn’t know- she hardly had any one to talk to back home. Her family and friends were here in this big city shopping in this congested mall. If Jane wanted to get used to living here again after all these years of being away, she’ll have to adjust to the culture.
Jane sent one text, with no purpose, to a random person on her phone. The anxiety of being caught staring rendered her dumb for a minute. She looked back up to see if the two women were still there. They were back to conversing, the red haired woman no longer looking at Jane. Jane tried not to stare in their general direction but they were right in front of her; directly in her line of vision. As Jane stared ahead, the red haired woman looked at her again. Jane attempted to keep her eyes set on one point in the air to not be tempted to lock eyes with the red haired woman, whose eyes were now burning into Jane’s head.
The tension was a bit too much for Jane. She turned her head slightly and locked eyes with the red haired woman. Jane offered a small smile. Before she could observe if the red haired woman reciprocated the greeting, she turned her head back to her phone. The random name she had messaged previously had responded.
Jane no longer wanted to engage in communication with this person. This poor guy. She used him and he had no idea. Jane regretted texting him in such haste. As Jane stared at the text she noticed someone had appeared right in front of her. First she noticed the well groomed toenails fit snug into white summer sandals. Jane put the phone down and looked up to meet the striking green eyes that had caught her attention before.
“Hi.” The red haired woman said with a small smile.
“Hi…” Jane responded. Jane didn’t know what to think.
The red haired woman kept smiling and looking down at Jane sitting with her phone dumbly sitting in her hand. It was exactly where she wanted Jane. She knew she would have this affect on the homely and humble girl who was staring at her from only a few feet away. It was only minutes ago that the red haired woman told her friend:
“That girl sitting over there keeps looking at us.”
“I know. I see it, too.” Her friend replied. “She’s probably not from here and doesn’t know staring is rude.”
“Let’s tell her to take a picture. Maybe that’ll show her. And we can show off so she can check us out some more.”
“Diane, no, you’re going to make her feel awkward!”
“She’s making US feel awkward, Bettie, Come on.” Bettie tried grabbing Diane’s arm to pull her back but it was too late; doing such a thing would have been a stretch into making a scene. Diane was already at the girl.
“Hi…Do you think you can take a picture of my friend and I?” Diane held out her phone to Jane.
Jane looked at the phone, then back up at Jane. She nodded and took the phone.
The two women hugged each other and smiled with titled heads. “Okay, go!” Diane shouted.
Jane took one picture.
“Oh, can you take a few more, please?” Diane asked, almost whining.
Jane shrugged at began snapping more shots. Different poses came from the women. Some were exaggerated. Some were seemingly conventional. Some didn’t need to be done in the middle of a busy mall. Jane was beginning to feel uncomfortable until Diane walked up to her and grabbed her phone out of her hand.
“Thanks so much!” Diane said smiling.
“No problem. You girls look really great…” Jane said trying not to sound anxious.
“Yeah. Well, I hope you had fun. You know, looking at us and all. I’m sure it’s what you wanted, too. Thanks, see ya!” Diane grabbed her friend’s hand and left. Her friend turned around to give Jane an apologetic wave.
Jane fell back into her seat with a flop.
Damn. They saw me.
Embarrassed, Jane went to find her family in the mall.
Three days after that Jane was called into work.
“But, sir, I thought my first official day wasn’t until Monday…Oh, alright. A special case? Wow, alright then. I will be more than glad to start today. I will be right in.” Jane hung up the phone and rushed to her new place of work: Fortune Funeral Home.
The intern who greeted her was prepped for work and rushed Jane in. “We have an odd case here. We have no idea how she died, honestly, the autopsy came back inconclusive but they’re working on it some more.” Jane didn’t know what to expect. Mysterious skin murderer? Acid bath gone wrong? Suicide gone really wrong but kind of successful because hey, she’s dead anyways?
They walked into the mortician’s layer. The body was lying on the table with a sheet draped over it.
“You ready?” The intern asked Jane. Jane nodded.
The intern pulled the sheet back and Jane’s mouth dropped. The last time she saw this woman she recalled her being pale but not deathly. She recalled she had vibrant red locks, not straw-like dulled hair. She remembered seeing her face being done up and had many colors that accented her features. The last time she saw this woman, she had looked like an angel. Now, this woman looked nothing more than what she was- dead.
The intern noticed Jane’s shock and asked “Are you alright? Do you know this woman?”
Jane slowly turned and looked at the intern.
“Yes. I know this woman. When I first met her, she looked magnificent. As if she was the sweetest woman to walk the Earth. When I finally spoke to her, she wasn’t too nice, actually. Now that I look at her here… Her cheek bones aren’t as high as I thought they were. Her lips aren’t as plump. Her face looks contorted, though her face is unscathed. She doesn’t look like she’s at peace, or resting. She looks to be in the state she was meant to be in. Cold and dead. Thank you for the guide, I will take over now. Let the boss know I’ll be in here working the rest of the night. We have to get her pretty for her big day.”
Baffled, the intern left.
Jane looked down at the now dead Diane.
“You were wrong the other day. THIS is what I wanted.”
_Leslie D. @byronyca