She shut the car off , pushed the seat back and switched out of sneakers into heels. Driving her sporty car was her favorite part of the day but changing shoes so often… not so much.
As she walked into the building, she knew she was early, too early perhaps. The older folks on the bench smiled at her and she smiled back. Always fond of the elderly, she was excited to start a new adventure.
With a nervous bladder, she found the nearest bathroom. Sighing deeply she realized she looked too confident, and wiped her lipstick off in the mirror. She loved this blood red shade , it went nicely with her long Raven black hair and cinnamon eyes.
Come to think of it, she has never worn it for more than a few minutes. She pulled her sweater down tight over her forearms, not sure anyone was ready to see her tattoos, especially this early on.
A middle aged woman in a pale dress and yellow flats came out and asked her to follow into the Human Resource room reserved for Training and Interviews it seemed. She wasn’t very pleasant she made obligatory eye contact and looked away immediately.
Lina felt like the whole thing was already blown, she was already being judged.
Flat grey walls, inspirational posters, she had seen this all before. Another grueling interview , another interrogation about her past.
“I’m Kelly ” the wispy haired twenty something exclaimed almost jumping back when she turned to see who Lina was.
Her energy immediately changed, and no matter how positive and down to earth Lina’s responses were, she could tell Kelly was not a fan.
When she made a comment about how there was no need to be more than casually dressed in the position the interview was for, Lina felt like her red pants and black stilettos had pissed her off. Interview over.
Lina lowered herself into her coupe, ripped off her favorite stiletto booties and cried at the wheel. Feet cold and mascara ruined, she couldn’t help but feel she failed again. She watched as a group of ladies in ‘casual dress’ as Kelly previously mentioned … were laughing and chatting. A swarm of Beige outfits and white sneakers walked back into the building.
She shook her head as she thought to herself that she would be better off toning it down and fitting in with people like this. Maybe they wouldn’t run from her , maybe just maybe, they would give her a chance like they used to.
Of course she was forgetting how awful it used to be. How caged she used to feel.
How could clothes and hair make people judge her so harshly, she didn’t judge them.
Perhaps she should start, she thought.
A peek into her old darkness snuck out. She knew to tuck it back in, she cranked the volume on her cd and peeled out. She immediately regretted wanting to be like she used to be… a non threat with no voice.
“Am I a bitch? Do I look like a mean person? what is the problem?” she yelled into her Iphone to her best girlfriend.
“No No and I don’t know, forget them you deserve to be around people that know your worth anyway” Ruby said calmly.
She always knew how to calm Lina down by listening to her curse it out.
Back when Lina had the problem, is when they first met.
Admittedly, she was afraid of Lina at first. Lina was a different creature back then, not as happy, not as loving, not nearly as confident. No blood red lipstick in her purse, nothing that drew attention to her face.
PCOS is what it was called they told her, when she was only fourteen years old. Excessive facial hair, absent periods, infertility and insulin resistance were the few of what she remembers mentioned.
She didn’t need a diagnosis to know she had too much hair on her body. The comments kids and even adults had made about the hair on her forearms or neck were enough. The torment on the school bus, the embarrassing gym class shorts, and the comparison against the other girls kept her up at night.
Growing up she learned to erase the hair, therefore erase the problem. Long term this did not pan out so well. A quick shave in your teens turned into a five o clock shadow in your twenties. This made Lina hide away in more ways than one. Having conversations with people back then was painful. Watching their eyes go from her eyes to her chin and then the shadow…would make her hate them. This didn’t work well on both ends, people definitely felt her thunderstorm gaze.
Ruby was different though. She always kept her eyes on Lina’s eyes.
Rubys Chardonnay hair and bright curious blue eyes was exactly what drew Lina to her. She carried a sunshine aura and was the kind of girl no one could hate. Not even Lina.
It began at work, they were talking about a mutual favorite show, The office. They set up dates to watch it together and their sisterhood bloomed. As dark as Lina felt, she couldn’t help but look forward to Ruby’s light.
Ruby didn’t understand why anyone wouldn’t welcome Lina, it was something she just couldn’t comprehend. She remembers seeing her as an inspiring faithful woman that loved to dance just as much as she did. She thought Lina carried herself like a lady even though in private she worked on her own car and cursed like a pirate.
She had never failed Lina, and she never would.
Lina got home and collapsed on the couch next to her dog, Bambi. She talked to her everyday she was the best listener. She ran her fingers through Bambi’s golden brown fur …trying to ignore the vibration of her phone on the coffee table. She knew who it was and the last thing she needed was another thing to piss her off. Besides, she wanted a fun energy for tonight, she offered to babysit for Ruby and they would be over soon.
As she preheated the oven she heard the purr of her friends car creeping into her driveway. “Hey, how did it go?” he asked quietly sensing her disappointment. Lina knew when she told him he would understand exactly what happened, he too has experienced this with the males in the world.
She met Simon at a previous job, where they both were toned down and everyone had loved them that way. They weren’t threats back then, they ‘fit’ in.
Unaware of anything in common at the time besides the desire to escape a stale life. He was around her age, Coffee black hair with resistive eyes and a darkness much like her own.
Their twin presence together seemed to cause trouble unintentionally. Most didn’t understand them but they didn’t care because they understood each other.
Simon leashed Bambi and left for the night but not before he hugged Arizona in the driveway.
Ruby’s daughter was very special to Lina , she perhaps was the only non related child Lina had cared for. As a child Lina’s nickname was Snow White… stray animals Lina would run to but children … never.
Arizona took after Ruby, she smiled like her, laughed like her and had the bright aura her mother had. Her creative ideas and soaring imagination had Lina smitten. Lina had a special night planned just for her and as she heard her footsteps on the porch, her smile began to creep in.
“Deep breaths deep breaths you can do this…just do it just do it” Ruby whispered to herself. Almost out of breath, she opened the door.
There he was, on his IPad sliding his finger back and forth. The lack of acknowledgement was what she was used to and she had enough. As she walked towards him she felt ill, as if she could faint at any moment.
“what took you so long ?” he muttered, still not looking up at her.
“I need to talk to you about something can you come over here please?” She could feel her voice shake. He rolled his eyes and walked over to the table, still leering at his IPad as he placed it down. “I don’t want you to go to the party tomorrow night.”
He scoffed, “I cant miss this party, its going to be wild Ruby” “I know Dick and I know what will happen so please don’t go” she could feel the tears burning in her eyes and held her breath as if she didn’t, she would miss his response.
The history of Dick and Ruby was a painful one. When you’re in love …
To be continued in 2019*