By: Heather Weinberg
Song: Dark Paradise
Artist: Lana Del Rey
Album: Born to Die
(Picture taken by the author)
I make people look their best. It may not always be their idea of “best,” but luckily for me, their opinion doesn’t matter. The clients tell me what they want, maybe providing some source material, and I make it happen. I’ve gotten good at that . . . creating someone’s ideal image on someone else’s face.
Have you ever had the feeling while looking at a person that you could see their whole lives? How they were as a child, how they will be when they grow up? It feels a little like coming home. I have to believe that a sensation like that comes from somewhere real. It’s more than an imagining; it’s a knowing.
It was while working that I first saw him. There was that completely cliché moment where everything else in the room was dulled. It was the aftermath of a bomb going off. All I could see, hear, and breathe was him. And, just like that, I knew our paths were meant to cross.
Have you ever known absolutely that there is no turning back? That you have reached a tipping point, beyond which could only be a complete departure from everything you had known before? It feels a little like being outside your own body. Stuff like that doesn’t happen without reason. It has to mean something, and it isn’t something you can deny.
Just as quickly as the world had slowed, it sped up. And he was there, in front of me, inches from my face as I worked. It took me awhile to realize I was holding my breath. There was something in his gaze that comforted me. There was a peace in his silence that suggested understanding.
Have you ever known the feeling of being untethered, but safe? Like there is a freedom taking the place of chains you never knew existed? It feels a little like breaking through. If you can explain that to me, please do. A connection that can breed that sort of intensity cannot be mistaken.
It started as a train of thought I couldn’t stop. What if I touched my lips to his? What if I ran my hand down the back of his neck? The space between my thoughts and my actions narrowed to imperceptible. It started happening in such a natural way that I wasn’t entirely sure, at first, that it was taking place outside of my head.
Have you ever felt your flaws disappear, your insecurities just vanish? Like the mirror you’ve held up to yourself your entire life was warped? It feels a little like waking up from an unpleasant dream. It’s freedom that most aren’t able to taste. It’s not the sort of thing that you apply logic to.
My eyes were closed so I couldn’t see the look of horror that spread across the room. I couldn’t see the way people recoiled. I didn’t feel the air go out of the space. I didn’t hear the gasps. I only stopped when I felt a warm hand on my shoulder.
I turned to see my co-worker. The look on her face was a mixture of nausea and pity. She was shaking. My glance traveled around the room and to the faces of the other employees of Allen Brothers’ Mortuary. Each one of them was wide-eyed and still, halted in various stages of body preparation. In that frozen moment, I may have felt something akin to doubt. It only amounted to a passing shadow though. I can’t help but believe in that which I feel most deeply. There is no lie in purity. There is nothing that can defile truth. I won’t stop trying to get to him.
Heather Weinberg believes that olives should have their own section on the food pyramid. She also believes that the olive section should be larger than the one for grains. When Heather is not eating olives, she is pondering them.