By Jourdan Lobban.
A girl is lying in bed under layers of blankets. Five empty Welch’s fruit snack wrappers lie near her fingertips. Soft, loosely coiled black hair covers her from ears to cheekbones. Her skin, once reddish gold mixed with honey, is currently a dull brown masking in darkness.
A typical Tuesday evening.
Nema’s legs are pointed straight at the TV in the corner by her window. There are flashing scenes of car crashes and guns shooting in the latest summer blockbuster. Her lackluster mind has no energy left for processing the plot of that godforsaken movie, only a tiny section whose only intention involves the binging of everything and nothing.
The guns are firing nonstop. With each flying bullet and splatter of blood the girl’s soul is pulling farther away from her body. Her steel will slips at a rapid rate. Her hair grows wilder upon the pillow sheets. Each strand expands into freedom, an action that spoke less of actual freedom and more of empty rebellion. The strands build into waves of fortresses that block all from her view. Her hair curls, takes a gnarled composition, creating a world of indifferent isolation. Nema lies there, willing the trap of her own making to take her further into the abyss.
I need to let it grow anyway, she mused.
The static from the TV is white noise. The countless notifications from her phone are not heard. Between the escalating action from the film and the takeover of Nema’s hair, the insistent knocking from her father at her door is drowned out. Nema cannot decipher the faroff calls of her stepmother trying helplessly to reach her. She is glad though. She is too late for her rescue.
The movie goes on. The shooting ceases and gives way for the star crossed lovers’ spotlight. Nema is not able to sense the mounting tension between them, or the small kisses turning into something more, whatever that is. She is trapped in the black forest of her own making. She is softly brushed into bliss, then unconsciousness.
Another breath does not escape her seconds later.