A girl sits before a camera, beneath a blanket in a dark room. The light reflects on the whiteness of her skin, the bright red of her lips. Black lashes widen her wet blue eyes. She talks, in a nervous but matter-of-fact way, but droning too; she talks, but she is not here to talk.
She tears strips of shining white tape, one after another, about the length of her palm. Sticks them to something off-camera, for use later. There is a sadness about her, a confused certainty, as she tears the tape, as she talks and talks as though unable to stop. One soft hand comes up with a bundle of pink fabric; the hand shakes. In mid-sentence, both hands rise to stuff the cloth into her mouth. Her shining red lips are open. She is not here to talk.
Yet the words keep coming, her lips rippling, breath struggling into mumbles around the mass of cloth. It is not enough. She takes the first strip of tape in both hands, presses it with deliberate care over her squirming lips. She grabs the next, places it lower, trying to hold back the flood of speech. Then the next, faster now, higher, just under her nose, then the whole roll is in her hands, the end anchored over her gagged mouth as she winds around and around her head in desparation, before at last tearing free and smearing down the end of the tape. She is here to not talk.
Her cheeks are red. Her chest is red. Heavy breathe through her nose warms the tape. Both hands rub down the slick, shiny surface that covers the lower half of her face, pressing, shaking, and then finally give way to the moment. She looks straight into the camera, and from her eyes now the words pour out in a torrent, millions of words, scintillating like the light from an avalanche of diamonds. Those wet blue eyes are filled with pressure, filled with relief. They beg, and they plead:
don't let me go.
this is me, broken and all.
Still rubbing the gag, feeling the tight slickness of it, feeling it shutting her up. Still shaking and mumbling. Still burning red in cheek, in chest, in places not seen on-camera. She reaches out with her arm, reaches out with her sad eyes, reaches out with her silent mouth.
She is not here to talk.
for deonee, 12-28-2016