Vignette: The Body Snatcher

I traced the outline of Junior’s lips, savoring their slenderness, their poutiness, their power.  I positioned my head parallel to his, tailoring my breathing to match the rhythmic pattern of his two short spurts and one long exhale.  Our noses coupled together, pointed and prominent.  I breathed him in.  The blend of musk and red clay elicited a charge surging through my being.

My honey blonde hair cascaded the sides of his face, an intimate curtain concealing the blush spreading across my neck.  His skin, porcelain white, enamored me.  I wished my essence seeped inside him like a spirit inhabiting its host.

I didn’t want to become a man, per se.  I was quite satisfied with being a woman.  Men forgot about the paunch of my stomach and the wideness of my hips when they burrowed their heads into the valley of my chest.

I wanted to be white like him.

Many people had mistaken me for being white when Junior and I went out on dates, my creamy complexion paired with eyes sparkling like the emerald green Caribbean Sea.

Until they noticed my full lips and the strange texture of my hair: copper strands, wooly at the roots and straight at the ends, an unruly child refusing to behave.

Until they heard a slip in my near-perfect speech:  my backwoods dialect peppered with double negatives and down-home phrases, tar bubbling up to expose my farce.

Until someone darker than me called out my real name in a public place:  “Gemini! Girl, what you doing with the sheriff’s son?”

Then the beauty turned into the beast.

I flatten my frame against his.

Boundaries of flesh peeling back, red petals floating midair under the glass dome, kaleidoscopes of chemical reactions, enveloping us into a conjunction where he ribs the emptiness inside of me.

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4 thoughts on “Vignette: The Body Snatcher

  1. Alexandra, this is very well written. It thoroughly engages the reader and makes you feel the racial divide and struggle Gemini is having within herself. And even though as a black woman I definitely didn’t like how she referenced herself as “the beauty (white) turned into the beast (black)” it works well in this story and it’s a powerful statement depicting her inner turmoil. Great piece.

    • Thank you for responding,Demetria. Gemini is one of the characters from a novel I am working on currently. She is quite the character with a strong voice. As a black woman, I think all shades are beautiful. But growing up as a child I had to deal with the color complex and was made to feel like I was ugly because I was not fair-skinned.

  2. Wow powerful. Like Demetria I cringed at the beauty and beast reference. A crushed self-esteem permeates all skin colors doesn’t it. Great description and getting to the heart of her feelings.

    • Thank you for your comment, Julie. Gemini is a character who does not apologize for who she is. She makes me cringe, but I am only the scribe narrating her story. Readers will definitely have a love/hate relationship with her. The beauty and the beast reference is harsh, but when one’s self-esteem is crushed by negative remarks and unfair treatment, one sometimes feels like he or she is not equal in the taunting party’s eyes. I decided not to use this scene in my novel. I agree with you that crushed self-esteem knows no color. Gemini believes she is using her difference to get what she wants, but she soon realizes there is a hefty price.

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