PURGATORY

by Mars Ghitar

On the last day as her former self, Sam hunched over a mirror and screwed her face firmly into position. She double- checked it. Then she triple-checked it and before she knew it, she was making faces at herself and had whipped herself into a hysterical frenzy. Then the light came on.
She knew that had she forgotten that she hated loving Carrol; though he was quite a tall short man and as gruesome as he was handsome, he just wasn't enough woman for her. Sam, in return it seems, wasn't man enough for the likes of Carrol, even though she could break things as just as good as he could. Carrol used Sam like an plaything.
Sam was so beautiful she was scary. On the other hand, she was afraid of the rest of the world; but not as nearly as much as she feared her mirror. Her revulsion of Carrol was surpassed only by her all-consuming dependency on him. Sam offered her heart to Carrol for a song. He steadfastly refused to sing. Wrapping her hand around Carrol's heart one day, Sam cut herself badly. Fortunately, she knew enough about psychology to keep herself crazy.
Carrol loved hating Sam, even if she was as loyal as his dog, Schlep, and twice as smart. He needed her because nobody else would put up with his mean and filthy ways. He despised her for allowing him to get away with it. He needed her more than he disliked her. His apathetic cruelty was overshadowed only by his slovenliness. He had an alienating possessive streak. He may leave this world, but he would never leave her.
When they first met, they used to spend long afternoons on picnics in the pool, watching the starry sky. It was a short but rapturous romance full of passion, sweetness and laughter. It quickly rotted into apathy, indifference and confrontation. Now it was; food-fights at five, wrestling at eleven and mayhem at midnight. Occasionally their fight-of-the-week would attract the local peace-keepers. Sam enjoyed the attention but didn't care for the pain. If it didn't kill her, she figured, it must be love. Unfortunately, she was right for the wrong reason.
It was obvious, of course, when the inevitable happened. It was only a matter of time and circumstances. Events set in motion tend to follow an inescapable predestined course. And so it was with Sam and Carrol.
Early in the morning on a cloudy afternoon, on the dark side of the Sun, Carrol woke up dead. Sam closed her eyes and saw for the first time, her true other. It was just before she disintegrated into being.


Way Out West © 1993 Martin Scherer. Venus & Mars © 1995 Martin Scherer. E-mail: mscherer@tesserak.net