The Disquiet of Dorian and The Grey

I looked down at the tattered and blood-soaked cuffs of my shirt, realizing that fortune and happiness aren’t off the rack ready-to-wear. You need designer style and a want to do desperate things. She was a wreck — all snarled hair and thin skin rubbing against bone — sipping gin from a teacup, and it had been over two hours, and my canvas was scrawled with rage not paint. “The rain washed my makeup off,” she’d said when she arrived, shaking her umbrella as she walked in from the cold. Her feet were bare, and she giggled as the sleet slicked from her toenails to the creaking floorboards. I’d been waiting. For what, I do not know. Maybe her, when I think about it now. She was an unexpected talent, and the bugs in my stomach squirmed against the whiskey and bacon I had eaten earlier for breakfast. The hunger shone in her. Her teeth looked like miniature marble pillars when she smiled, and she had a distance in her eyes — livid — like sex dipped in gunmetal and chocolate. She was a collision with cutlery, and I just had to paint her. Had to. Her filthy flesh was a feast awash in the fell light of the moon. I felt a velvet hollowing in the center of all things, felt the paint as it congealed around the flattering silhouette that was she, who graced the dark corners of my mind. She was a secret … 
And when she giggled again and lifted her scars into the moonlight for me, I knew I would have to keep her that way — for ever, and ever, forever.

By Cheryl Anne Gardner

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