Changing True Colors

(5 minute read)
by Megan Diedericks

(South Africa)

Alma lifted her head, the teacup remained steaming. She pushed her foggy glasses to the top of her head. She placed the reddened knife next to the plate, taking the toast and clenching her teeth down onto it. The strawberry jam plopped onto her shirt, she sighed.

Dropping the toast back down, she looked to Leah, “Today is just one of those days.”

Leah’s lips quivered, she had her knees pulled up to her chest as she sat on the carved wooden chair. Tussles of her hair clung to her forehead. She stared at the intricate tree painted on her own cup.

“I know what you mean,” she agreed softly.

The stained yellow tiles of the kitchen seemed to confine these two women. Water from the faucet poured as Alma held the splatter beneath the flow, rubbing with a cloth.

Leah placed a gentle hand on Alma’s shoulder, who flinched in response.

“Dab, don’t rub.” Leah held her hand out – Alma dropped the cloth in her palm.

“I don’t know how much longer I can do this.” Alma breathed, her ruby lips plump beneath her tongue.

“Do what?” Leah looked into Alma’s honey-glazed eyes.

“Be stuck in this routine, this life… be stuck with myself,” she corrected.

“Maybe you just need a change?” Leah suggested carefully.

Alma’s gaze felt stone-cold; her orbs did not drift when she slowly turned the faucet tightly shut – her knuckles grew pale.

“What do you suggest?” Alma towered over Leah.

“Oh, I don’t… I don’t know.”

Leah spun toward the window. There, the wind howled relentless secrets for all to hear. The trees lining her street whipped forward and backward, caught in mother nature’s Stockholm Syndrome.

“My mother liked the wind.”

“Did she?” Leah felt Alma’s breath on the back of her neck as she spoke. “Not rain or shine, or something… normal?”

“Hmm, no normalcy for my mother.”

“Did she… hurt you?”

“God,” Alma laughed. “No. Is that really where your mind goes?”

“It just seemed likely,” Leah joked.

Facing Alma after any amount of time spent having your back to her features, is like being reminded of how angelic the devil can be. Leah noticed the red blotches still remained on Alma’s shirt.

“Should I put it in the washer?” Her finger shook as she pointed, “It might help.”

Alma pulled her shirt over her head, holding it toward Leah, “Knock yourself out.”

***

Leah returned to Alma sitting against the cabinets, twirling the knife between her fingers.

“Took you long enough.” Alma pointed the knife at Leah, then rested it against her own cheek.

She patted the floor, Leah’s body met the space next to her.

“What were you doing?”

“Putting your shirt in the washer.”

There was not a hint of hesitation in Leah’s voice, but it was in her darting eyes.

“And what else?”

“Nothing, that’s all I did. And I put it in the dryer, too. But that’s all.”

Leah was rambling too much.

Alma pushed the knife into Leah’s hand – her voice echoed in agony. Alma rolled her eyes as she disappeared around the corner, Leah followed. She did not know why; she was missing her opportunity to escape.

Alma picked up the phone laying on the rattling dryer, she held it against her ear.

“Ma’am? Ma’am, are you still there?” a voice asked.

Alma smirked, pushing the phone against her chest, “Nothing else, huh?”

She spoke into the phone, “Oh, my God. I’m terribly sorry. Did my girlfriend call you? She did?” Her eyebrows fell into an apostrophe of worry.

“You see, she’s an alcoholic and I was just trying to get her to see that she needs help and…” she sniffled, her voice even cracked. “No, no. That’s okay, thank you. Thank you.”

The end-tone of the call sounded like ruby hot alarms ringing in Leah’s head.

“You were right.” Alma started for Leah’s tear-stained face.

“About?” Leah stepped backwards.

Alma lunged forward, pulling the struggling woman into her embrace.

“About me needing a change.”

Alma pulled the knife from Leah’s hand and it made friends with her heart – more than once.

“I need to stop feeling sorry for my victims.”

Alma dropped the knife next to Leah’s breathless face. Her eyes were agape, splintered glass.

Alma found her shirt, pink, and in the dryer.

Copyright © 2022 – Megan Diedericks. All rights reserved.

About the Author 

Megan Diedericks is an avid writer. Her debut poetry collection, “the darkest of times, the darkest of thoughts” is available on Amazon. She is situated in South Africa, and is proudly part of the LGBTQ+ community.

More information is available here: https://megwrites.carrd.co/

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