Wednesday Evening: You want to BE her

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(Author’s note: You enter the scene a few minutes in…)

I heard the door open and started awake. Trace stood framed, dark against the light behind her. Her nose scrunched up with distaste. Being naked in front of this woman was intolerable, but I didn’t want to acknowledge that to her.

“You’re here, ” she sighed, closing the door behind her. She stood at the sink, her back to me, while I watched her examine herself in the mirror. She caught me, her eyes spearing mine in place.

“So, Mouse.”

“Christine.”

“Yeah, that. That’s it right there, Mouse. Just go with it. You know, get over yourself.” She muttered, as if to herself, “Delicate – is she trying to prove she can be gentle enough not to break you?”

She turned fast and faced me head on.

“Because she can’t.”

She leaned over the tub and used two hands to heft open the window to the fire escape. Her cleavage dangled menacingly in my face. Taking a single cigarette and lighter from her back pocket, she perched on the edge of the tub and lit up, careful to blow the smoke out the window.

“I hope you’re not thinking about having sex with her.” Her light blue eyes were like sonar radar as she gauged my non-reaction. She shrugged and continued.

“That never goes well. You missed Luca. She was a great technician. Things almost fell apart when she had to go. For what? We’re very lucky Jamie cleaned up his act or we’d be screwed for production.”

She waited to let the words sink in. This was the second time she’d mentioned Luca to me, a second warning.

“And now, you. You play proficiently. You seem to get what we’re trying to do. It would be easier if you can stay with us, at least for awhile.”

I couldn’t help but object. “Hey, I never committed to anything but this show.”

“Yes, yes, okay. And if you sleep with her, it won’t even be this show, which is unacceptable at this point.” She took a few more irritable puffs, then shook her head.

“What is the problem? You’re not even gay.” She was getting testy with me, but not half so much as I was with her.

“Who are you to say if I’m gay?”

She regarded me levelly. “You want to BE her. It’s not the same thing. Just don’t. Okay. Just…don’t.

She seemed about to stand, then stopped. She pulled in a deep breath with her eyes closed, held and slowly released – I recognized the method. She opened her eyes and shook her head.

“Mouse, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t know your best friend if she skipped up and tongued you her bubble gum. Listen. Trix is the wind. Bash is a cloud, and me,” here, she leaned in closer to where I sat in the cooling water, my arms curled around my knees.

“Me, little Mouse, I’m a wind tunnel.”

She stood, flushed her stub down the toilet.

“What does a mouse have to offer the wind? Maybe fleeting amusement before she blows by you, or blows you over. Play music with us, get into it, but don’t get confused. She is not for you. You will not fuck this up. And if you tell her I was smoking, I’ll have to break your little fingers.” She smiled her sweet, babydoll smile before spraying a disgusting room freshener in my direction. She closed the door carefully behind her.

I contained my anger with difficulty, picturing her face as tiny, pixilated dots, just a trick of light, really. I contorted the face, this way and that. It was amusing to see her writhe. But then I started to feel something else – a begrudging admiration. She was so strong, clear about what she wanted. I felt envy. To be able to pull that off seemed like a super power to me. I wasn’t so sure it was Trix that I wanted to be.

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