The Faces

Partly relieved it was over, partly in disgust, partly just sweating. He woke in a sweat of confusion. Maybe just dead. May be just dead. “May be just dead.” It wasn’t his voice he knew suddenly and then it stabbed him in the chest. One after the other, only able to discern a face every now and then, most of them inhuman, frightening, undead, or maybe just dead. The faces changed now more rapidly. Now the face he saw was truly terrifying as he realized it was a nightmare, a wet mess of dread and despair, eyelids agape, nose and mouth indiscernible as if they were plucked by a prehistoric bird of prey. “Are you the same girl?” he heard himself ask half embarrassed. But then she morphed into something almost comical, not a clown face exactly, but more like a goth chick with corpse paint while he barely noticed (how could he?) that his lucid state disintegrated as he drifted. The girl morphed again, and was now completely unable to move her mouth he decided. He kissed her for what felt like a good long time. “Trite” a voice said, to which he didn’t bother replying, instead willing it to silence, taking a short deep breath as he did so. It was his dream in any case, so he gave her red lipstick and big, doe green eyes. He knew now he was in control of everything, like a cinematographer handing his director the perfect set up without even needing to confer the details. The bar in the background was facebrick just like the wall behind her where two people were seated, one reading the paper. The rest of the room now became visible, or rather, apparent: it was always there but he only noticed it now, fully lucid, yet still he glanced her way as she spoke words that he literally could not hear, as if she was on a screen with the volume turned down. He looked at her and she returned his smile, lips slightly parted, eyes soft and prudent. Something still wasn’t right though.

“Who the hell was that?” he asked himself, truly perplexed now. She was black, “and I’m talking Central African skin tone.” A real beauty but average from the neck down he decided, trying not to stare. He clenched his fist. The girl had changed again, and while part of him thought this was kind of fun, he felt himself grow a new nerve of agitation. “I know her. I think.” again, to himself. “We dated in junior high. We must’ve. Jesus Christ I’m old.” Her face changed and she wasn’t really attractive anymore. Like a famous person without makeup. WHITE.

“A moan in the middle of this shit?” He heard a moan, sexual in nature, as a flash of white filled the screen. She looked normal. Not crying anymore, sedate but alert. His fingers twitched and oddly enough itched. A little. He thought this might push her over the edge, so he locked eyes and stared through her and into her. She seemed to give as good as she got at first but eventually was subdued. He thrusted like a legend in his own right mind, but his mind knew better so who’s to say it wasn’t accurate? She was firm and supple at the same time. Still she resisted but he pressed on without care. Voluptuous hips made for childbirth, but who could think of that at a time like this? He played with her hair and she turned around, inviting him to enter her from behind. They were lying down in front of a fire, her back to him, head resting on his arm.

“This isn’t going to be one of those things with weird sex scenes is it?” she said, to which he replied: “No, not a chance. It’ll be good you’ll see.” None of it felt right, and he knew what was coming next. Her face changed. Just another stranger with uncomfortable eyes. “So what do you do?” And he said: oh this and that and scientific engineering. “Scientific engineering?” Her face — bemused. “I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who did that kind of work.” Her face inquisitive. Her face majestic. Her face incredulous. Her face placid. Her face did indeed change. Over and over and over to represent the domain of her emotion, a domain presiding over all women through all time reacting to all things with assured grace. None of it felt right, but it wasn’t her right now, it was him, even as he knew he could grasp enough bits of logic to at least put himself within a context, a context nevertheless continually shifting.

She reminded him of a vintage magazine he once found in one of his uncle’s shoeboxes. PULP… something, he couldn’t remember. Pretty girls in and out of tight clothing. His 12 year old mind wasn’t put off by the dated clothes and hairstyles. “Women Who Provoke – And Why They Do It.” He remembered the headline all too clearly because of how you couldn’t print something so frank and honest nowadays and because he also definitely knew this girl in front of him now. Her face hit a brick wall as he punched her with accelerated fury. “Goddamnit!” She had told him he didn’t have the cojones to do it, and that his mother was a white slave whore. Her face changed and he was back at that fucking restaurant.





to be continued…