There she stood, all alone. No one in sight. No one for miles and miles and miles of empty, barren beach. The strong winds felt like 1000 needles piercing her already damaged skin. He said he would be there by the time the storm came in- by the time the heavens started their bowling match. He said he would be there by the time the thunder rolled through- by the the time God threw his winning strike. He said he would be there by the time the lightning illuminated the sky with a million sparks a moment- by the time the cosmic bowling celebration ensued.
He said to wear that cherry red dress that “made him cheery inside” and the pearl necklace he bought her months before, so he could “rip it off one more time.” He said to bring her heart in its entirety because this would be a night to remember. He said to do exactly as he said, and life would be better than before.
She believed him; she didn't know why she believed him. She knew he would toy with her heart again. It would be a night to remember, that was for sure. Another tally mark on the “how many times he’s played me” count, which was getting close to the 50’s range. Fifty times over he had gently taken her heart into his hands, just to tear off another piece to add to his collection. It boggled her mind as to what he meant by bringing her heart in its “entirety,” since he had already claimed most of it for himself. The last time it was whole was the night of their first date, when he softly whispered a promise in her ear.
“Darling sweet Jules. If you do as I say, I promise you that I'll never hurt you. I'll love you for all eternity. Just do as I say and you'll be cherished without lapse.” His voice sounded like a drop of golden sun sent straight from heaven above as it radiated through her innocent mind. All she could think was “what girl wouldn't want what he was offering! A true man to keep me in his arms for all eternity.” There was no sign, not even the most subtle of hints, to suggest that it was all a lie. To her, at least.
Like a sponge. He was to use her over and over again like a sponge to clean up the mess he made within himself. Wash, rinse, repeat. All until it was time to throw her away, and find a new sponge. He’d start the cycle up once more.
Any man watching Tristan from the sidelines would think this to be horribly cruel abuse of a woman who deserves nothing but total respect. Any man following in his footsteps would understand this to be an ingenious plan that could easily turn an innocent bystander into a victim of his crime.
Each step he took was measured with immense precision in order to ensure a successful result and total satisfaction for the criminal himself. It became second nature once the process was perfected.
She was watching him take those steps now. In her mind, on her heart, and across the billions of grains of sand. He walked slowly. It was agony as she watched him draw out his steps. Th-thump, th-thump, th-thump. Jules could hear her heart beating exponentially, growing faster with every step he took. The closer he got, the more afraid she was. Afraid that she would fall for it again. Afraid that he would suck her in against her will. Afraid that she wouldn't have the guts to say such a simple word as “no.” But, she was even more afraid of the consequences she’d face if she did have the guts.
Minds are fragile. They aren’t meant to be manipulated. He wanted to dive deep down where only the darkest of thoughts live. His mission: destroy every ounce of self-esteem remaining, rip up the confidence she struggled to keep hold of, and reopen her healing wounds.
Skin is delicate. It isn't meant to be torn up and taken advantage of. Tristan, however, thinks it is the perfect place for him to paint a picture of the blue skies and purple flowers- his two favorite colors.
There are only so many times that a window can be hit- cracked- before it is too weak to keep itself together any longer. Tape is only sticky for a certain period of time until it loses its grip and gives up on what it held onto for so long. Bandaids only shadow wounds from the outer world; they don’t heal them. Irons only make a shirt look nice for a few hours; they are back to their original, tampered state by day’s end. Balloons start out flat and dull, are filled with air so they appear to be more than material, but shrivel back up to a worse off, droopy version of their old selves.
Jules was the window; she would shatter with just one more blow. Jules was the tape; she had hardly any will to hold to something not worth fighting for. Jules was the bandaid; she put on a smile everyday that was only for show. Jules was the ironed shirt; she was perfectly fine until it was time to see him. Jules was the balloon; she began as nothing and built herself up, only to be shot down.
Tristan stood beside her now. His eyes were the perfect shade of green and his lips a perfect red. He wore freshly pressed khakis rolled up above his ankles and a navy button up polo shirt that hung loosely untucked. Ray bans rested upon his head; a gold rolex watch wrapped his around his wrist. He was facing the ocean, allowing the waves to crash on his feet. His hair blew in the wind while still keeping its perfect part and style.
“I’m glad you came tonight, Jules, just how I asked.” She shuddered at the sound of his overbearing pretentious voice. There wasn’t the slightest bit of motion from Jules. She stood there still as a rock holding her umbrella in one hand and keeping the other tucked safely inside her sweater.
“You don’t have to be afraid to speak Jules. It’s only me. I’m not going to hurt you dear, you know that. Don’t you believe me? Don’t you trust me?” He wrapped his cold hands around her waist and pulled her in too close for comfort. She nodded her head up and down, though she yearned to move it side to side.
“Good,” he kissed her up and down her neck, “that’s what I thought.” It was a torturous feelings, his lips on her skin. His hands slid farther down than they should, especially for a man who wore a cross around his neck. Jules could feel her body begin to tremble, and knew it was only a matter of time before she would wish she had the guts to say no. To tell him to back off and leave her alone. She slid her hand deeper into her sweater, brushing his waist as she moved.
“Ooh. Having some fun yourself I see?” She began to pull her hand back out.
“We can play those kinds of games if you’d like.”
“No.” He released her from his grip. She kept her hand firmly planted beneath her cardigan as she slammed into the sand.
“What did you just say to me, miss?” Mistake. The only word that came to her mind was mistake.
Jules choked the words out, “I, uh. I said no.” It was too little too late and she knew it.
“I thought I told you do as I say, and all would be peachy-keen?” His Sperry’s left a tread mark on her dress. She remained silent.
“Are you going to answer me, or not? Didn’t I say to do as told?” There was a harsh crescendo in his voice and three more prints on her dress.
She couldn’t take it any longer. She couldn’t bear the pain he caused her for another moment. The tally count was moving vertically too rapid for her to keep track as his foot moved closer and closer to her face. She took her hand out of her sweater, revealing two things. She handed him a note that read ten words, “I said no, Tristan. The last words I’ll ever say.” He looked straight into her eyes. She held the second item up to her head.
“No, Tristan.”His painting would consist of a new color tonight: red.