I like to piece things together. There’s something about being able to see the edges of things that I find so appealing; the little corners that you can peel back to reveal the fleshy mechanics, the ooze and the turn and the steam. They flutter at me suggestively, little triangular points of dried Papier Mache, old newspaper print and the eye of swim suit supermodel from 1982. Sometimes that’s what I feel like the world is made of, on a day when it’s not looking so solid and so infinite. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who’s made of paper. I take my scissors and cut the curve of a girl’s leg. It is smooth porcelain white but in the yellow light of my only light bulb the taut skin looks dusted gold. The curve makes a perfect arc, high and natural. I can see her eyes, two orbs flattened, glossy. They are listless, they are looking to the right. Her lips are painted the colour of ripe plum fruit. She’s beautiful. But there’s something not quite right about it all. What is it? What is it?!
It’s that head. It’s all wrong.
The camera’s lost the life. I curse under my breath, and sever the head from her gold dusted shoulders.
I go in search of another, a face that still has a sip of life left, a spark in those eyes. It takes me almost an hour to find her, hiding away in the depths of high fashion. She has the skin of a white tiger draped over her black silk body. There is fire about her, and it smoulders, smothered slightly by the gloss of the page.
There. Not even any scar tissue to worry about, no Frankenstein lines. Perfect.
Almost. It’s still not quite done yet. There’s still something missing, and it’s just a speck I can feel it. Something caught under my fingernail, in my eye, between my teeth. What is it? What is it?!
Wings. A flare of red feathers against white lace, opening. That’s what she needs. That’s what every girl needs, something to carry her up and out and above.
Sometimes I think about doing this for real, sewing wings onto girls backs and turning them into angels. The girl that sits on the reception desk, she looks like she could handle it. And she’s got those perfect shoulder blades, so evenly spaced and tucked just under the surface of her skin. Such vibrant bones, perhaps she got the buds beneath, little feather sprouts waiting to take form, to take flight. Maybe she’s got magic, too.
No. She’s not like the rest of us. But every time I see her she’s reading one of those colourful Japanese books, the ones filled with fae. She isn’t one of us, that’s for sure. But she wants to be. I bet you she would say yes, if I asked her. I bet you she would thank me, even if I didn’t ask her first.
I have to stick the wings onto the paper with pink sewing pins. I’ve used up all of my tape.