X-terminate Your Past
July 12, 2006
Singing into microphones that kept record of her every flaw was terrifying; yet spilling the inner workings of her mind into lyrics that didn’t seem contrived was healing. Lindsey found the balance between the two by playing a guitar that had been a gift, playing a guitar that had no nicks or scraps, or gauges in the side. The guitar Andy had bought her was shiny and new but it had no history, it had no life. She played it in Pete’s basement studio because it couldn’t whisper her secrets in the space between chords. And she couldn’t afford those secrets to be spilled because Andy was watching her, and he had been for hours.
He was silent; she liked it that way. The only reason she was recording was because he wanted her too, it was the only time in her life she had ever done something to appease someone else’s desires. Lindsey had always been the most selfish person she knew. She regretted the moment she stopped strumming because Andy spoke. He reminded her she had an appointment. Lindsey had never kept an appointment. She was tired and she was late and she was rude and she really wasn’t any of those things any more.
In the hours she spent out of Pete’s house, out of Andy’s company for the first time since taking shears to her hair and face in a depressive episode just 11 short days ago, she was lively, prompt, and refined. She smiled and commented on the weather like any normal person would. And when her cushioned chair was turned towards the mirror she didn’t recognize herself. Her hair, which had become another of her self-inflicted tragedies, had been recreated in the short layers of an ultra-feminine pixie cut. Her face, which hardly ever saw the effects of cosmetic products, was smooth and with an even tone that livened up her typically morose pale. With a rose blush artfully smeared over the apples of her cheeks her smirk appeared much less devious than normal.
“I’m beautiful.” Slipped from her lips before she could even give it a second thought.
“And you don’t even have the dress on yet,” The stylist smiled. Lindsey looked around, there wasn’t a rack of clothing in sight yet this bubbly woman excitedly handed her a garment bag and ushered her towards the employee bathroom.
The ripping sound that accompanied the zipper as Lindsey dragged in down reminded her the reason for all of this preparation. When the band had been invited to participate in a charity gala, Andy had asked her to be his guest. Protesting the very idea of being viewed publicly as the girlfriend of someone famous she graciously declined, adding the excuse she just couldn’t be seen looking the way she did. And that’s when the appointment was made and she was given no other option.
“I wouldn’t get your hopes up Hurley,” she had spat disgracefully at Andy when he spoke of this plan, “I will never look like a princess.”
He had simply shrugged and began a light conversation about the weather.
“Are you ready?” The stylist asked knocking on the door Lindsey had locked herself behind in nervous anticipation.
The truth was Lindsey hadn’t even taken the dress from the bag yet. The fabric was a silky chiffon that was sure to be airy and flowing on the dance floor, but the rich grape color was daunting. Lindsey wore blacks and whites and grays, not colors that would get her noticed.
When she finally mustered enough courage to step from the dressing room her eyes were locked to the floor. She had seen women perform this very action hundreds of times in stores and malls where Lindsey had never paid for a single item of clothing she took with her. They stepped up; she was stepping up into the light, to be judged. A deep breath slid down her throat in a lump, like she had forgotten to chew. She traded the urge to choke with a smile; she had learned people were more comfortable around her when she smiled.
And even with good humor playing at the corners of her mouth everyone was silent. “I can’t do this.” She said as more of a warning than a fact.
“You are stunning!” A patron peeped from under a drying where her new hair color was setting in foil wrappings. And then the room flooded with compliments, and Lindsey blushed. Spinning around when she was instructed to she was brought back to a dingy grey room when she was only four years old. With tissues tucked into her waistband to take the place of the flowing skirts and pretty dresses she never owned, Lindsey would spin around the her glowering ash colored bedroom with her doll clutched close to her chest. But now as she twirled, she didn’t feel like a princess for the corner of her eyes caught a glimpse of the deep scar that stretched between her shoulder blades. That scar reminded her why she had spent years living the way she did, running the way she did, and perfecting the art of being a shadow.
“Miss Hawk, your car has arrived,” They stylist spoke timidly after Lindsey had spent too long staring into the mirror at the line across her back. Lindsey watched as the scar appeared fainter and fainter. Sure, she could run away again; it’s what she was programmed to do, but that would only worsen the nagging feeling just inside her ribs that said she was about to let Andy down.
“You look stunning.” The woman reminded as Lindsey hurried through the glass door into the black car perched on the curb. She wasn’t on the wrong side of the looking glass, and this was no pumpkin carriage, but this she knew was the closest she’d ever become to being a princess. It was on the ride back to Pete’s house, she contemplated, what she would look like in a happily ever after. And for the first time in her life, it didn’t seem like a farfetched possibility, it didn’t turn into a joke.
In the driveway, the black car that she was in was met by a black limo. And eager on the pavement were the well-dressed versions of four guys that she knew. There was a pretty girl with them. She had choppy unnaturally red hair, large doe eyes, a metal half circle pierced through her septum and another through the center on her bottom lip. She was standing directly at Pete’s side, his hand was in hers, but she didn’t seem interest in him, let alone being present at this moment. Her name was Jeanae; Lindsey knew that for sure.
As Lindsey stepped slowly from the car, projecting her new image for the very first time, Andy rushed to embrace her. He kissed her cheek and took her hand all while whispering that she was beautiful. The blush that warmed her cheeks could hardly be seem beneath the layer of make-up she wore but Andy knew better than to expect too much of a reaction. He was just happy she came back. He had yet to grown accustomed to knowing each time she left a room could be the last time he ever saw her.
Everyone climbed into the back of the limo that awaited them, keeping to themselves as if there weren’t six of them in the enclosed space. Patrick and Joe were keeping their distance, knowing only so much could be done confined to the same vehicle. Lindsey was careful not to stare as they whispered. She was not as careful when it came to the other pair though. Pete and Jeanae sat side by side, he thumbed at his phone, and her eyes were locked on something distant. When their gazes did happen to meet, almost like they were both in the wrong place at the wrong time, there was a synergy between then; a mix of hatred, obsession, and adoration. Previous to this night, Lindsey had only heard subtle references to Jeanae but understood enough that she was Pete’s personal experience with crazy. It was someone like her he had been trying to protect Andy from all along.
The red carpet walk from the curb to the building was a long a grueling march for Lindsey. Her hand was placed cautiously in the crook of Andy’s elbow, her eyes to the ground. Flashbulbs sparked all around her. She forced a sly smile in an attempt to appear less uncomfortable than she was. Despite all of the compliments that accompanied their entrance into the ballroom it took her nearly an hour to detach herself from Andy’s right side.
“I’ll go get us some drinks.” She spoke up finally. When Andy tried to argue that he would go she urged him to continue his conversation. Reluctantly he complied, but by the time Lindsey noticed this she was already approaching the bar. As she counted her final steps she realized it had been exactly one month and eight days since her last sip of alcohol. That was a record she wasn’t quite ready to break.
“Can I get a Mountain Dew and a Diet Coke?” She asked the bartender who was in the process of arranging half empty bottles behind the bar. As seconds ticked by and Lindsey’s patience wore thin she began again. “Can I get a...”
“Mountain Dew and Diet Coke, I heard you the first time.” The bartender barked retrieving two clean glasses and placing them on the bar in front of her. When his eyes met hers she gulp down a strange chill. He didn’t look at the glasses he filled even once. Pursing her lips uncomfortably she cursed her new makeover for this unwanted attention. There was something different about this stare than the others she had been receiving tonight. The bartender’s stare was odd in the fact that it was too long, it was almost too knowing.
At the first given opportunity Lindsey collected the soft drinks and turned her back on his gaze. His eyes burned into her back, causing the scar stretched between her shoulder blades to glow a blistering shade of red.
“I thought you looked familiar.” He called after her with an arrogant chuckle, “Lindsey Hawk.”
Yes the title is lame, but I couldn’t come up with anything better that started with an X. Oh, and because I really didn’t like my descriptions of the dress or Lindsey’s new haircut, I’ve included pictures, ha ha.