There were a gazillion pieces on the floor- shards of glass that were once part of a beautiful stained glass painting on Candy’s bedroom wall facing her plump, pink mattress. The curtains were wide open, and even the sun squinted a little, looking at her absolutely grief-stricken eyes. Its rays just wrapped her up like a little baby and she felt a little warm, in spite of ice cold ethanol coursing her body and wreaking havoc on her very DNA.
Candy caught each of the shards reflecting a colorful day in their lives together. Their lives together- yes, Clay and Candy had lived life to the fullest for six whole months. Each little piece of glass twinkled with a blast from the past – their first awkward kiss in the auto, Clay’s delicious home-cooked meat chops and devil chutney, their disastrous first jive and her two left feet, their window shopping and harmless shoplifting, their mad making-out in dark alleys and public- private-spots, their bumpy joyrides on his otherwise super-smooth Pulsar 200, their crazy chick-checkpoint searches in churches, their awesome glass-painting and glass-breaking sessions, their fun and freaky beer downing sessions with Carol, Clay’s mom… too many memories, too little time.
‘Hmmm, right now, it’s more like-‘Clay’s & Candy’s ex- lives’’, Candy said out loudly to the full length mirror. The girl in the mirror was Candy’s image. Candy liked to talk to herself, and named her image Aphro, short for Aphrodite, Goddess of Love and Beauty. Aphro was 16 and Candy’s BFF- best friend forever. Aphro had black locks that fell to her waist, soft curls in the front framing her cherubic face, with a gloomy, gothic look now, thanks to the black kohl and tears mixing and marking their own melancholic streaks down her cheeks.
Aphro said, ‘Candy, let’s play ‘WORD-OFF’. You say something, I try to outdo you, and we go on till one of us shuts up the other. If I shut you up, you never speak of or to Clay again, and if you win, well, you can obsess with Clay till you die.’
Candy said, ‘Deal Aphro! 6 months ago, I met Clay, the cutest boy on earth. It was love at first sight.’
Aphro said, ‘6 months later, Clay met & fell for Stella. Shocked & betrayed, you gave up without a fight.’
Candy said, ‘Clay still loves me. He’s going to get down on his knees, and beg me to take him back’
Aphro said, ‘Stella today, Bella tomorrow. Clay’s a useless fella, and he doesn’t care jack. ’
Candy said, ‘We are perfect, we make each other tick. For Clay, I know I will always be the best pick.’
Aphro said, ‘You poor lil’ kid, go ask Uncle Barney: There’s always a hotter chick.’
Candy said, ‘Hot or not, Clay’s always loved me a lot. Even now, we’re best friends. He’ll be mine again.’
Aphro said, ‘Best friends after a break up. Fat chance you’ll ever make up. Love is a bad bargain.’
Candy said, ‘What do you know? You’re just the girl in the mirror.'
Aphro said, ‘I know I’m your soul sister. I’m sorry girl; you know Clay’s a traitor & a heartbreaker.’
Candy stayed shut. Candy never spoke of or to Clay again. In the years to come, Candy met many a heartbreaker, and couldn’t help leaving behind a whole trail of broken hearts. But, she always knew how to heal. She just looked inside her for the 16-year-old Aphro and never lost faith in that beautiful goddess of love and beauty that lived inside her forever.
P.S. When Candy met Clay, she was 30 and Clay, 20. When they broke up, Candy was 30 and 6 months and Clay, 20 and 6 months. People grow old, their souls don’t. Search for your 16-year-old soul or look in your mirror today. A heartbreaker may just be around the corner!