I was standing next to her motionless body, my hands soaked in her blood.
The apartment, succumbed into darkness, was in complete disarray. I sat there for a long time, my legs criss-crossed under my body in the Hindu fashion, just looking into her open eyes, all semblance of light long gone from their regard.
I smiled. It felt good to be free of her at last.
She had been my poison of choice for the last two years, and it was all over in a matter of minutes. How had it come to this?
Where did things go so wrong that only death could resolve it? Death… the times that we had discussed it over coffee and cigarettes were countless. Death, she had told me, unshackles you from all things mortal. It is the ultimate adventure. Death is freedom.
Well. She was free at last then, and so was I.
I took her hand in mine and caressed it gently.
“I will miss you, Celia,” I whispered, kissing her lifeless fingers.
She called herself Parvati this last year or so, the unknowable but enlivening feminine force in Hindu mythology. I refused to acknowledge her under that name. Unknowable – yes – one never really knew Celia. I joked that Naylor’s Indrani was a better fit for her: the goddess of wrath, as beautiful as she was wicked. She did not take kindly to my assertion.
There was a time when I believed her to embody all that was pure and good in the world, but she proved me wrong. She was the most powerful woman I’d ever met, possessed of an animalistic sexuality and evil genius. She infused my world with her magic…
She was my full moon.
I gave her so much of myself, that I got to a point where I could not imagine myself apart from her. I loved her so much, so desperately and deeply that it almost hurt to think it. She crushed my heart, she swept her feet on my soul and left me crumbled: a shadow of the girl that I once was. She destroyed all my relationships one by one, until she was the only thing in the world I had left, and yet… I loved her, been devoted to her. She betrayed me again and again, until I could no longer find excuses for her behaviour, until I ran out of reasons to believe her lies.
I took her petite body in my arms and carried it into the bathroom. I set her smoothly in the tub and got the water running. I took her clothes off one by one and washed her wound carefully, until only an open scar remained, but no stain of blood. She looked so innocent, laying there inert and peaceful. Her hazel eyes were still open, an empty stare fixed upon my face.
“There is no point in berating me, Celia, I will make this journey all alone” I scolded her gently, passing my fingers over her pupils and closing her eyes: “You have a journey of your own to take… Satan has long been awaiting his bride…” I sniggered.
I took all her jewels off, her medallion, bracelets and rings and put them in the little wooden box: a present she gave me in parting. She had made this so easy.
She made her goodbyes in the last few weeks, and insisted that she would not be contacting anyone whilst in India. India was her Mecca, the root and ending of her hypocrisy.
Celia was not a religion; Celia was a way of life
A life of sin and depravity masquerading as virtue and wholeness.
She was other-worldly, she insisted. This world was too lowly, too human for her. Money, things, property of any kind was a burden she did not want to bare. She was concerned with higher spheres. I laughed at my naiveté. I wanted so desperately to believe that someone like her could exist, that I bought into all that bullshit. If only I knew then what I now discerned, so much of this could have been avoided.
I was a child and she abused my trust and my friendship. As my world crushed around me, reduced to rubble, she announced that she would finally leave for India. It was a journey she had to undertake alone, to find her calling, to cleanse her soul. As if the waters of the Ganges could ever purify her putrid mind and body! The sacred river had been spared. The Thames would have to do.
I washed my hands slowly under the jet of water, one and then the other, watching my reflection. I had aged a lot in the past few months. Not outwardly perhaps, but certainly I felt much older than my years. I hardly recognised the face looking back at me in the mirror.
I took the scissors from the draw under the sink and slowly cut my hair. I loved it – my long blonde curls, but if I was to get out of the country safely I needed to alter my appearance. I watched the locks drop on the floor around me one by one, until it just about touched my shoulders. I did not realise how heavy hair really was. It felt as if a stone had lifted off my shoulders.
I turned towards Celia with a smile: “Believable, do you think?” I asked and then shook my head slowly: “Something is missing… The colour, don’t you think?” Her body stood still, irresponsive, small drops of water tricking down her thighs. “You are right, Celia, the colour is all wrong. Lucky: I have your provision. How do you think I will look like as a brunette? Dashing! I’m sure you agree.” A manic laughter escaped me.
I still needed her approval even now.
I put on the gloves with minutiae attention to every motion under execution. I put the paste onto my scull, combing it in carefully, all the while regarding my reflection. The full moon watched accusing from beyond the window.
You have been seen. You will be caught.
Twenty minutes later it was done. It looked well. No one would have been able to tell the difference between Celia’s and my hair now. The next hurdles were my eyes and complexion. We were roughly the same height, and our features were not dissimilar. I could pull it off easily enough.
There was a lot to do before I would leave the following day: a body to drown, an apartment to sterilise, a bag to pack, and a new identity to take over. I will leave this city and its darkness behind me forever. She wanted to abandon me and my world, but now it was I who will leave both behind. I will have her forever. I will not be with her, but become her.
“Celia is dead. Long live Celia.”
I was the full moon.