This is a work of creative fiction.

She’s in my house. After all the years I spent burning her and chopping her up, she’s in my house. She is Rasputin with a string of pearls around her neck, and I can’t believe it hasn’t choked her yet. I can hear her tittering, telling me that it is not elegant to choke. I do not care.

My husband cannot see her, but he believes me when I say that she is there. He has helped me to try to chase her out, but exorcisms are only for demons. Exorcisms are only for demons, and she is an angel.

But what happens when angels are evil? What happens when I have fainted splat on the wall-to-wall carpeting because she blew into my ear and told me I must look just like she looks? What happens when I run up the water bill to such great heights because she told me I must smell like a rose in the French countryside? What happens when I burn my hands because she stood over my shoulder and told me that the water was not hot enough, not nearly hot enough, to get those dishes clean; to wash away the cheese from the ziti she asked me to spend all day preparing?

I know how this fight will go. Either she will kill me and ask me to leave a pretty corpse with red lips and cheeks with falsehood painted on them, or I will kill her and stuff a pillow with her feathers. I do not know which will prevail, and I might die trying to learn. I do not care. The fight must end.

I meet her in the kitchen. She leans up against the refrigerator because it is important for ladies to remain cool. My back is to the rack of knives, and I am just tall enough to make a grab for the butcher knife if need be. I stand before her, not trembling like an object but standing like a subject, and I am proud to stand like a subject. I am proud of my skin and blood and hair and lips when I stare at her, when I breathe her in.

Her hair is piled on the top of her head, looking like a yellowish rock that blew a hole in the ozone, a hole that no sewing kit could ever patch up. She wears a cocktail gown and a pair of shoes that make her tower over me like a Windex-spraying Goliath. I carry no slingshot in my hand. I carry no slingshot in my hand, and yet, I know I can win.

The secret, I figure, is in the refrigerator. For a moment, I’m not sure how to lure her away from the cool subzero of it all, but then I tell her that my son is upstairs wrestling with an unruly sneaker. I don’t have a son. I don’t have a son, and still she jumps away, giving me the time to sneak behind her and grab the maple syrup.

She turns around to face me again but all too slowly. I have already drizzled this kitchen like my own pancake, a food I haven’t been able to eat since she nestled into my ear and told me that pancakes were for preparing, not for consuming. She reaches out her arms and grabs the mop, but the handle snaps clean off. Later, I would be informed that the mop collapsed from exhaustion. It is no matter. I seize the bag of flour and begin to baptize the room. Her face turns ghostly as she feels around for cleaning supplies, only to find them burning in the backyard. Worse than that, the patio table had gone dusty.

As she scrambled to pick up the butter and the flour, her perfect hair falls down to her blood-filled cheeks, coming down into greasy locks of not yellow but blonde. There is a tear in the left knee of her nylons, and when she notices that they do not perfectly match the color of her cheeks, she weeps. Mucus runs out of her nose, and she uses her dress to wipe it away. Her high heels break as she tries to stand, and though I can’t be certain, I think I see her wings break off and fly away, all of their own accord, something she never learned to use.

She hobbles over to me, in tears, asking me if I could ever forgive her for turning my sanctuary into this disaster. She asks if I could ever forgive her for looking this hideous. And as those words come out of her mouth, lipstick smeared all over her face, I chuckle at her as though we are good friends.

“Hideous?” I repeat, incredulous. “Why, I don’t think you’ve ever looked more beautiful!”