She had a sort of fear of being a lesbian. What she thought was her aversion to pink frilly things was really a denial of her own femininity, a drive that led her to embrace all things untraditionally female in the eyes of society.
Where one thing told her to strive for the ideal, she lusted for the opposite. A wondrous compilation of never-ending contradictions. Where she was unable to see her own fallacies, she turned a blind eye to confrontation. Where I am able to run, she said,
I will be safer than any other place in the world.
Where you are able to run is never stable, but an everchanging landscape of worn out tires. Where she ran was nothing short of a one-time leap of faith. Jubilant hypocrisy is what she called it. Harping on the needs of the commoner, she turned up her nose at everyone she met under a pretense of loving gratitude. Never trusting Jesus, God, or
the Holy Spirit she ran her own way, without a thought for the race.
One day she was wary of the train in her head, the one that just would not stop running in a twist. I am a woman, she said, a little too defiantly. Why must I run from my woman-hood, she said a little louder. She walked over to the wonder on display, the mannequin in the storefront window. She gazed at the nipples spray painted in space grey. I wonder if mine look like those, was the thought in her head. I hope mine are better than those, was the next trail of words. Rabbit hole, where the vagina met her state of mind.
I watched as she looked over the fabrics on the rack. Our eyes met. Where are the
better clothes, she asked. I nodded toward my assistant, a young behemoth of a man, who showed her the way to the staircase. Down there, he said. She descended into
the flurry of color.
I wanted to understand why she had entered my store. Of course, I had been the one to open the door, but it had never occurred to me that she would actually step through. I looked to the boy and gestured. Get her a glass, I commanded. He waltzed off to the back room, where he poured a shot of vodka.
She accepted with a hesitant smile on her face, one that was lost in a world not here. I stared intensely as she turned back to the useless camera I had placed on the shelf ten years ago.
She climbed up the stairs. She would not speak. I waited. She would not speak.
She was not here. I willed her to speak. Marionette, dance. I would not see her
leave without a smile. Smile, where we are you must smile, I urged her.
I grew increasingly angry. The women who had come before had complied with
my requests for laughter and merriment. I would not understand why she would
not smile. Hungry, I asked, and fed her treats. I saw a wan glint of light. It went as
soon as it sparked.
She turned to leave.
She was understood to be cold after the embers had died. I walked to the door
to leave as I stared through the darkened window. He stopped me with his voice.
Watch out for the virus from China. Sneering, I left.
Hahye is a little more than the sum total of expectations formed in Korea, North Carolina, Singapore, and the Netherlands. Currently based in the hometown of her mother, she is unmoored for the foreseeable future.