Chapter 16. Love Destroys





Violet knew ordering a martini before noon wasn’t a good look. But she did it anyway.


She’d arrived twenty minutes early for her lunch date with Gabriella by design. She needed a moment alone. A moment free of Knife. Yes, she was mesmerized by Knife. Yes, she would’ve believed they’d known each other in a past life, if she believed in past lives, which she didn’t. Yes, there were things about her that only Knife seemed to understand. Things she didn’t have to verbalize, things that could be expressed in a glance toward the sky or the tremble of a finger.


And yes. She loved Knife. So much that it freaked her the fuck out. Which is one of the many reasons as to why she was halfway through a martini at 11:40 in the morning.


She tapped a shiny silver nail against the bar and thought about what to pitch her literary agent next. Her mental health might’ve been plummeting into a rabbit hole of darkness, but there was no way she’d let her career go down with it. Violet — you see — might’ve been a party girl but she was also wildly ambitious. When she was fourteen she’d vowed to do everything in her power to become successful and she’d yet to let even the most harrowing cocaine hangover prevent her brain from executing creative brilliance.


Maybe I should write a YA novel about a young girl who moves to New York from Florida to flee the hellscape that is her life? She lives on 16th street until she’s rescued by a fabulous eccentric — who she later finds out is an angel. The eccentric invites her to live at Chelsea Hotel with her, where the girl becomes exposed to artists, culture, the theatre and — finally learns the magic of the chosen family?


Oh, that’s good,” Violet blurted to no one in particular.


What’s good?” asked the bartender, who unbeknownst to Violet had been curiously eying her since she’d arrived.


She was the only bar-patron at the 89th street brasserie but had been too consumed by the rush of her own ideas to take in her environment. Violet looked at the bartender for the first time. He had glimmery, awake eyes — a surefire sign of a creative brain.


“Oh, I was just marveling over the martini you made me,” she looked into her glass. It was empty. She glanced into her clunky vintage tank watch. It was 11:43 a.m.


“Do you want another?” he grinned, sheepishly. As if to say: I like a morning martini too.


“I couldn’t possibly —” Violet theatrically flailed a skinny arm and dropped it against her forehead.


“How about a wine?”


“Are you kidding me,” Violet stared at him, her big doll eyes breathing and alive. “I want a fucking martini! What do you think I am? A republican?”


The bartender chuckled. “I know plenty of republicans who drink martinis in the day. In fact — it’s all I’ve ever known.


Violet brightened. “You must be a WASP! I’ve heard so much about your people.”


“I’m from Darien, Connecticut. It’s one of the WASP-iest towns on the Eastern Seaboard.”

“Well, in that case, it would just be disrespectful of me to not have a martini. I’ll have it dirty with blue cheese olives. To honor your culture.” Violet smirked.


“Thank you. I feel really ‘seen.’” The bartender smirked back.


Violet rolled her eyes and gagged. “Ugh, don’t you hate people who say shit like that? ‘I feel seen?’ They’re the same people who consider getting shoved into the sandbox one time, a ‘trauma.’”


“Same killjoys who write menial grammatical corrections in the comments sections of articles.”


“Same losers who told on me for smoking a cigarette at a high school party and got me kicked out of the play.”


“Theatre kids,” he grinned, pouring Belvedere into a shiny silver shaker.


Musical theatre kids,” Violet made jazz hands and grunted.


“Totally.” The bartender carefully placed a gorgeous martini before Violet.


“This martini is good-looking. Looks fresh out of Nantucket.” Violet took a swig. “Just don’t tell the boys in the salmon pants at the country club I’m Jewish. It’ll break their hearts.” Violet ran her fingers across her tiny Star of David necklace and smiled wickedly.


“You’re…sassy. What are you?”


“I’m Violet. What are you?”


“I’m Cooper.” He stretched his right arm over the bar. Violet studied his hand before shaking it. She hadn’t seen a boy hand up close in years. “And when I’m not tending bar, I’m blowing up my life,” Cooper continued, his boy fingers wrapped around Violet’s girl fingers.


“How?”


“Through a series of bad decisions fueled by lust and reckless impulse. Or maybe it’s just the general damage I’ve caused to my frontal lobe from huffing all those cans of paint as a kid?”


Violet smiled into her martini. “Same.”


*



Imani had never understood why anyone would ever want to watch anyone sleep. In fact, she’d found the whole notion lecherous and creepy. Until now. Nia’s body folded into Imani’s body. Her sleep was weightless. Blissful. Post orgasm sleep.


Watching Nia sleep was like floating on a cloud of Valium. Like smoking a joint on the beach in Barbados. Like lounging in an outdoor hot tub surrounded by snow-capped mountains with a glass of red wine. Like —


RING. RING. RING.


Imani looked for Nia’s phone. She found it screaming and vibrating on the dresser of their West Village hotel room. “Mom + Manager” read the caller I.D.


Imani silenced the phone and tossed it back onto the nightstand. Nia’s mom stressed Nia out. Plus, Nia had told Imani she’d been working sixteen-hour days on set and was desperate for sleep. She was flying out to Los Angeles in the evening and in less than twenty-four hours would be back in the Hollywood grind. Imani of all people understood that high-performers need rest.


She held Nia by the waist. Nia smiled in her sleep. Imani closed her eyes because there was no way in hell this was real.


But it was real. Love. But just because something is real, doesn’t mean it won’t destroy you.


*


“So yeah. I think I’m in love with Knife,” Violet slurred to Cooper. Gabriella was running thirty minutes late and Violet was running on three martinis and twenty milligrams of Prozac. “But —” a growl emerged from the hollowness in her gut. She plucked the blue-cheese olive from her martini glass and bit into it. “— But, every bone in my body recoils when she’s like…I don’t know — ‘loving?’ in bed?


“What do you mean?”


“You know when people get all tender and neck-kissy and whisper sweet things into your ear when you just want cold, savage sex? I hate that.” She stared into her patent black Mary Janes and tried not to think about Ray. “My friend Patra? She thinks I’m dead inside.” Her body begged her for an Adderall. She hadn’t taken any at all today, in an attempt to feel something. “I think she’s right.” She twisted her dark hair into a bun.


“Why?”


“Why what?” The bun unraveled. Violet’s hair dropped over her eyes and grazed the tops of her clavicles.


“Why do you think you’re dead inside?” Cooper asked, hypnotized.


She shrugged. “Lately I’m just numb.” She stared thoughtfully out the grand, floor-to-ceiling windows that overlooked 89th street. “Besides the other night. The other night I sobbed like a fucking maniac outside of a lesbian bar. Can you think of anything more gay?” she snorted. “But then it started snowing and I got distracted and have been vacant ever since.”


“Did the snow make you feel happy?”


Violet giggled. “Duh. Like, I said, I’m not a republican.”


Something about Violet’s prickly giggle saddened Cooper. “Well if the snow made you happy, you can’t be dead inside,” he insisted.


“Sometimes I crawl out of the grave,” Violet gazed into the empty bar. There she was. The only person drinking hard liquor in a bar on a beautiful Saturday. Again. “Tell me about you. Are you gay?”


“Sadly, I am not. Though I’m down to try reverse conversion therapy.”


“Want an Adderall?” Her eyes were big and serious as she unzipped her Balenciaga. She was feeling a little sloppy and after her colossal mishap at Gabriella’s birthday party — she didn’t expect her lunchtime drunkenness to be “well-received.”


“Yes!” Cooper beamed. He was working a double with a pounding head. He’d stayed out till 4 a.m. doing ketamine in an East Williamsburg dive. Of course, he wanted a fucking Adderall. “Fuck yes.”


Violet dug her nails into the bottom of her bag, searching for her pink plastic pill-box. “Hold on,” her fingers combed through empty packs of cigarettes and lipstick-stained receipts and the empty plastic drug bags she collected. Her face fell. “Somebody stole my pillbox.”


“Well, I’m sure your doctor will understand. People steal pills all the time these days.”


“It’s not about the pills,” her voice broke.“That pillbox is the only thing left from my childhood. It’s the most sacred thing I own.”


Cooper paused to reflect on the scene: Beautiful girl alone at bar draped in emerald crushed velvet dress over black stockings and buckled heels reports being repulsed by the thought of having tender sex with her androgynous model girlfriend — who happens to be named Knife — also says she can’t feel anything and is dead inside but publically broke down the other night and claims a pillbox is the only token of her childhood? New Yorkers really are fascinating.


“It’s not about the pills,” Violet repeated. A tear slid silently down her cheek and plopped into her martini. “I have extra pills in my wallet.” She unearthed a ratty white wallet covered in black plastic daisies from her bag and pulled out a round tablet the color of a hotel swimming pool. “Open your mouth,” she ordered, a second tear welling in her eye. The tear quivered uncomfortably as if it were trapped.


Cooper felt the edge of Violet’s nail against the surface of his tongue then tasted the chalky texture of a pill. He closed his eyes. What was it about this twisted girl that made him feel both horny and depressed?


“Hey, Violet,” he said, eyes-still-closed, pill-still-on-tongue, reaching for a bottle of water. His eyes flew open. He unscrewed the cap and swallowed the pill with a generous gulp of water. “You’re not dead inside. You’re sad about a missing pillbox.”


The imprisoned tear shivered one last time, before finally spilling out of Violet’s eye. I’m free, it sang as it rolled down her face. “Hey, Cooper.” She batted her lashes. “You aren’t the WASP you claim to be. You need water to swallow a pill.” She flung an Adderall into her mouth and sucked it down dry.


Suddenly the empty bar was flooded with a familiar strawberry musk.


“Miss Dior Cherie,” Violet sniffed. “Gabriella Tortellini must be close.”


Gabriella Tortellini? Cooper wondered, flummoxed. Could this day get any weirder?


Oh, Cooper, it can. Your day can and will get much fucking weirder.


*


Nia’s lids fluttered open. THUMP. THUMP. THUMP went her heart.


What time was it? How long had she slept? Fuck — she had a plane to catch! How could she have been so careless? She wrangled out of Imani’s arms and furiously scrambled around the room searching for her phone to check the time. She found it faced down on the nightstand next to Imani. It was only 2:10 p.m. and her flight wasn’t until 10. Her blood pressure eased. She checked her missed calls. There were seventeen from her mother. Her blood pressure shot back through the air and banged against the top of the Empire State building.


She beelined to the bathroom grabbing her phone so hard her knuckles cracked. She curled into a fetal position in the claw-foot tub in her baby pink sweatpants. Her vision blurred as she dialed her mom.


She didn’t believe in God, never had. But she clasped her hands together and prayed with devout Catholic fervor her mother wouldn’t answer the phone.


But God is a woman who doesn’t take kindly to being used.


Her mother answered on the first ring.


“Nia,” she seethed down the line.


“It meant NOTHING! She means NOTHING! It was a JOKE!” Nia cried so loudly it jolted Imani from her blissful nap.


“She means nothing! I was kidding!”


Imani’s heart sunk. She tiptoed to the bathroom and flattened her ear to the door.


“I’m not a fucking lesbian. You know I’m not a fucking lesbian, mom! She’s a stupid friend and we were just drinking and kidding! I MADE A MISTAKE! I’ll never talk to her again.


Imani dry heaved. She knew what was coming. She sat on the bed and pressed her head into her hands, too broken to cry.


Nia hung up the phone and let tears free-fall down her face. The tears expanded into bloated, salty sobs. Then they stopped. She grabbed the wall and stood up. She ripped off her sweats and threw them onto the tile. She twisted the knob of the shower so the water ran as cold as possible. She took a deep breath before jumping under the spray. At first, the freezing cold drops shocked her system. It was so painful she couldn’t breathe. She couldn’t think of anything beyond the arctic pound against her skin. Her body longed for Imani’s warm body. She adjusted the water pressure. Icicles rained hard over her head.


She gasped.


And then came a great wave of clarity.


She toweled off and felt brand new. Nia Green wasn’t a fool. She knew exactly what she needed to do.


*


“Violet, let’s talk in private?” Gabriella looked at Cooper and decided she didn’t care for him. He’s one of those straight boys that thinks he’s “sensitive” because he’s written, like, two poems. Bad poems. she grumbled to herself.


“Gab, anything you need to tell me, you can say in front of Cooper.” Violet’s eyes looked drunk but her speech was sober like a nun.


“Cooper?” Gabriella blew a bubble of Juicy Fruit. “That’s a rapist name.”


Cooper’s pale cheeks turned deep maroon. “I can seat you in the back?” he squeaked.


Violet grinned. “It’s totally a rapist’s name. In fact, come to think of it, there was a Cooper at boarding school who…” Violet’s voice trailed off. She squinted hard into the distance. “Oh no, that was a Chad. Both are rapey names though, don’t you think?” she loudly mused.


“I’m sorry Violet,” he muttered into his scuffed loafers.


“Sorry for what?” A bright yellow bubble smacked over Gabriella’s bright red mouth. “For being a sexual predator?”


“I’m not a sexual predator! I promise. I was saying sorry because —” he felt himself spin — “I was saying sorry, sorry that Violet had an incident with a guy named Chad?” he answered lamely. He knew he was fucked no matter what he said. And something about Gabriella’s upturned Cleopatra eyes and excessive gum-smacking made him feel like he was on trial for a crime he didn’t commit. Or did he? He desired nothing more than to disintegrate into Violet’s martini. And get swallowed like an Adderall.


“Don’t apologize,” Violet whispered. “It’s not your fault, Chad.” She cackled. “I mean Cooper!”


Gabriella swung her legs around the bar stool. “Get me some champagne, Chad.”


“My name is Cooper,” he said, instantly regretting it.


“Don’t make it about you,” Gabriella snapped.


“Got it,” Cooper skittered away to grab one of the nice crystal flutes they kept in the back.


“You’re on one today,” Violet chewed on her nail.


“I’m just sick of it.”

“Of what?”


“Of never having enough money to do anything in this goddamn overpriced city. Of living paycheck to paycheck. Of getting yelled at by my abusive boss. Of impossible deadlines. Of the empty sex I’ve been having with Gianna —”


“You’re fucking Gianna?” Violet’s mouth dropped open. “But most importantly, it’s empty


Gabriella ignored Violet. “I’m sick of doing coke! A drug I don’t even like — but need to keep up with you crackheads!”


A woman with beautiful pearls lighting up her face draped in a Burberry trench breezed through the doors. Her hair was fastened into a neat chignon. She smelled like La Praire skincare and dust mites. She smelled like money. Republican money. She settled on the other side of the bar and crossed her legs.


“I’m not a crackhead, Gabriella. That’s not nice.” The hurt in Violet’s voice was palpable.


“You are a crackhead. Just because you get it from a pervy old doctor uptown doesn’t mean it’s not crack,” Gabriella clipped.


Violet reached her breaking point. “My doctor might be old but HE’S NOT PERVY!”


The woman in pearls straightened her posture and pulled a silver compact out of her bag. She smoothed her hair as she stared intently into the tiny glass mirror.


“YOU SAID HE STARES AT YOUR TITS!”


Cooper appeared behind them, looking like a bewildered schoolboy, nervous fingers tight around Gabriella’s champagne. “Here you go —”


Gabriella plucked the flute from his hands and guzzled down the golden bubbles like they were going out of style. “Thanks, Chad.”


“You are welcome,” Cooper nodded, backing away. He made his way to the other side of the bar so he could ask the civilized woman with the pearls what she wanted to drink.


“I don’t have tits to stare at,” Violet said, pointing to her B-Cups. “So you’re clearly making this up.”


Gabriella pouted like a petulant adolescent. “Just because they’re not as big and luscious as my tits don’t mean they don’t exist.”


“That’s sweet, but you’re still a liar.”


“I’m not a liar.” Gabriella shrilled. “You’re the liar!”


Cooper cautiously approached the woman with the pearls. “May I take your order ma’am?”


She looked at him, expressionless. “I’ll have a dirty martini with blue cheese olives,”


“I DO MANY HORRIBLE THINGS, GABRIELLA!” Violet screamed so loudly the wallpaper curled. “I ABUSE MY ADDERALL. YES, SOMETIMES I’LL DRINK A FUCKING MARTINI BEFORE NOON. SOMETIMES I WATCH GRAPHIC, UNFEMINIST PORN —”


“Dirty Martini, coming right up,” Cooper winced at the stoic woman in the stoic pearls. He fled to the bar.


“BUT I DON’T LIE!”


“You’re manipulative, Violet. Just like my Aunt Valentina. You say you ‘don’t lie’ but you withhold the truth. Which is just as bad.”


“What truth have I ever withheld from you, Gabriella?”


Tears sprang in Gabriella’s big brown eyes. “I don’t know about your past, Violet. All I know is that it was bad. But whenever I ask you about it, you shut down! I lose you! And I don’t know what really happened with you and Ray.” Gabriella blubbered. “But when I saw Knife going down on you that day in Fire Island — “


“Another round?” Cooper asked the girls, flushing pink.


“PLEASE,” Gabriella and Violet belted.


Gabriella continued. “When I saw Knife going down on you that day in Fire Island I saw —”


“Don’t say it, Gab.”


“I saw —”


“Gabriella, please!”


“I saw cuts and bruises all over your body.”


The bar fell into shamed silence.


The woman in the pearls stiffened.


“When you didn’t show up for my birthday, I thought you were dead. I’d never been more freaked out in my life because I’ve never had a friend — fuck that — a sister — I’ve loved as much as you. I can’t lose you. I’m scared.” Gabriella wept. Violet pulled her stupid blue faux fur over her stupid emerald dress she decided she didn’t even fucking like, and trotted out the heavy silver doors, leaving her best friend crying alone at a bar on the Upper East Side. She slipped into the street and onto a downtown train, soundlessly haunting the subway platform, like a ghost.


“I’ll take the check,” Gabriella sobbed.


“Okay,” Cooper said simply. He wanted so badly to say something better than “okay” but he didn’t know what to say because he was just a boy from Connecticut, you see, and these New York girls were fucking complicated.


The woman in the pearls flagged him down. Great. She’s probably going to be rightfully offended about that ordeal and is going to report me for not handling an unruly customer correctly and I’ll get fired and then my girlfriend will dump me for being a jobless loser! For the fourth time this year! He spiraled.


“I’m so sorry about all that,” Cooper murmured.


The woman in the pearls looked at him, her face still void of emotion. “Please pick up the check for those girls.” She handed him a thick, black Amex. “And send over the sniveling lonely one with the fabulous prosthetic and gorgeous breasts, a bottle of your finest Champagne. Champagne from France — not that prosecco nonsense or none of that cheap cava. Also a plate of fish roe with shaved truffle and maybe, um,” she studied the dessert menu, “a creme brulee.”


“Yes ma’am,” Cooper said, shaking with shock. He walked away.


“Wait!”


He stopped and turned to face the woman in the pearls. Her face wasn’t paralyzed and blank anymore. It was sad. But also hopeful. “Tell her she’s my kind of girl,” she said, gathering her Burberry and rushing to the ladies room.


*


Imani kept her head pressed into her open palms as Nia closed the bathroom door and hovered over.


“Hey,” Nia’s voice was gentle and fake. The kind of voice you use on a cognitively impaired child. “I’ve just worked so hard. Like so, so hard. It’s not you. I just can’t get —”


“Distracted? Yeah, I know.” Imani lifted her head and looked at Nia. For a moment she considered fighting for her. For this sacred love. But the longer she stared at Nia, the more she saw a racehorse with blinders, only able to focus on getting to the finish line first. Imani shivered. She looked exactly the same when she’d rejected Imani all those years ago, in her teen bedroom.


“I’m sorry,” Nia looked straight ahead, past Imani.


Imani wanted desperately to march out the door but she felt frozen in place. NOT NOW LEGS. I NEED YOU TO MOVE. I NEED TO WALK THE FUCK AWAY. She coached her body like she’d done successfully many times on the basketball court. WALKOUT. Just like you did in high school. She hasn’t fucking changed. You don’t need this. MOVE. She pleaded knowing full well her legs wouldn’t listen. ‘Cause athletes understand that the mind controls the body. And there was something she needed to know, deep down in her bones.


“Was I an experiment? Something for you to get out of your system?” She felt a swell of emotion grow in her rib. “Was this even real?”


“This is the only real thing I’ve ever had,” Nia heard herself say. “Why am I destroying it?” She looked at Imani’s face and felt homesick. She dropped to her knees and cried.


Imani begged her mouth to twist out the words: Yeah, why? WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU DESTROYING IT. FOR FAME? FOR MONEY? FOR BULLSHIT THAT DOESN’T MATTER? But no words came out. Instead, she found herself, shamefully and embarrassingly sitting on the floor, next to Nia, wiping her tears away, rocking her heaving body in her strong, steady arms.


*


Cooper rushed over to Gabriella. “The lady sitting over there?” He pointed excitedly to where the woman in the pearls had been sitting.


“What, Chad, I offended her?” Gabriella’s tears turned to ice. “Because I’m too LONG ISLAND, too GAY, too DISABLED, too CRASS, to REAL for her WASPY Upper East Side bullshit?” What was the point in pretending to be polite? Her debit card was probably going to decline anyway.


“Um, actually, she picked up the check.” Cooper smiled. “And bought you this.” He handed her a flute of gleaming, effervescent sunshine-colored liquid. “It’s real champagne. From France.”


Gabriella pinched herself. This wasn’t real. This was a fever dream.


“A plate of Caviar is on its way,” he added.


“Don’t fuck with me,” she took a sip of champagne. It tasted like a glamorous Movie Star sitting in the polo lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel in a silk caftan handcrafted in “Italia.”


“She said to tell you: ‘you’re her kind of girl.’”


Gabriella felt spring bloom within. That was exactly what she needed to hear.


Cooper gently padded away. He didn’t want to say something offensive. He didn’t want to take up too much space. He didn’t want to take advantage of her vulnerability.


“Cooper?” Gabriella choked back a sob.


“Yeah?” he looked at her like a pug, eager-to-please.


“I bet your poems are good.”


“Thank you,” his eyes glistened. “That’s exactly what I needed to hear.” he smiled gratefully, as long-imprisoned tears ran free down his face.


*


Violet was drunk when she met up with Knife at a dive bar called Savalas on Bedford Ave in Williamsburg. It stank of stale pizza and pretty girls going home with unworthy boys.


“Fuck me in the bathroom,” she stage-whispered into Knife’s ear. A bearded boy in too-tight jeans heard her. He turned to his friend who’s fat head bore a sloppy, stringy man bun. “Lesbians,” he grinned, pointing to stumbling Violet and high as a kite Knife.


Knife looked at Violet with astonished cocaine eyes. She sniffed and felt a sprinkle of poison trickle down her throat. Violet looked wrecked. She wanted to take her home. Put her to bed. Take care of her.


“I said fuck me in the bathroom!” Violed demanded, loudly this time.


“I told you,” the boy in the too-tight jeans and his man-buned friend high-fived like losers.


“Okay,” Knife agreed, suddenly feeling very euphoric. “Let’s go.” She glared at the stupid boys as she dragged Violet to the bathroom by the hand.


Knife pulled Violet into one of the tiny stalls. Someone had scrawled: NOTHING GOLD CAN STAY across the wall in bright red ink. Below it read: FUCK YOU, NANCY in smeared purple lipstick.


She pressed Violet against the wall. When their lips touched, Knife ascended to heaven.


Violet pulled Knife’s shoulders away. “Don’t kiss me like that.”


Knife crashed from the clouds. “What?”


“I said don’t kiss me like that. Don’t kiss me at all.” Violet’s voice was flat but her eyes looked like a house caught on fire.


“You’re my girlfriend.”


Violet stared at the cigarette ash resting at the bottom of the toilet. “You stole my pill bottle.”


“I did not.” Knife leaned down and forced her shimmering blue eyes on Violet.


Violet laughed, casually. “You’re lying, Knife.”


“I’m not!”


“Just fuck me. Choke me. Hurt me. Get off, Knife. Get me off. Don’t you want that?”


Knife had never heard Violet talk like this. “I’d never hurt you.”


“Fuck you.”


“What drugs did you take?”


“Why does everyone keep asking me that?” Violet crossed her arms. “I don’t care about the pills. But that stupid pink pillbox is important to me. You don’t understand. It’s all I have,” she trembled.


Knife did understand — that was the thing. She viscerally understood what it was like to fiercely hold on to a strange cheap object because it was the only thing that had stuck by your side in your darkest hour. She understood that when touch has been scary and unsafe, your body learns to reject a touch that’s tender. It’s too foreign, too abstract, not at all safe. She understood what it was like to need to hurt to feel.


She understood Violet.


And to be understood is to be loved. And to be loved is to be destroyed.


Knife felt a sharpness stab her in the chest. The discomfort was too great, she couldn’t handle it. She had no choice but to run from it. She kicked open the bathroom stall.


“Where are you going?” Violet asked, hazy-eyed, watching Knife fling her leather over her shoulders. Knife didn’t say anything; she just gun-slinged to the sink and slicked back her hair.


“Why are you so far away?” Violet asked, looking like a sad little boy in a black and white film about war.


Knife took one last look at her sad-eyed beauty. She wanted to always remember her this way: Adorned in green velvet, needy-eyed, wasted and more pure than ever before. She slammed the door behind her and peeled into the crowded bar.


Violet stood alone in the bathroom stall and missed her mom, who she hadn’t thought of in years.


Knife tore down the streets of South Williamsburg stomping loudly to drown out the sound of Violet’s voice haunting her, repeating on a loop: “Why are you so far away? Why are you so far away? Why are you so far away?”


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