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12 The man in the last row (III)

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Clearly, you were everything to me, but who am I to you, Lina? You were so talented. A master of the paintbrush and I’d like to think I was your muse, if only for a little while. The last picture you painted was your most gruesome and, at the same time, your best one. Don’t worry, love, I will cherish it forever. Till the end of days, it will grace the entrance to my hall. You left it with me, because you knew I would appreciate every brushstroke, every dot, every line in it and even the spots in which your fingernails scraped off the color.

You never named it, but when I first saw it, I knew what I would call it. Coordinated chaos - full of feelings, even though its brushstrokes are perfectly ordered. At heart, that's exactly what you were: chaos with an inner order, and – who knows – once I die, your last painting might make you immortal for it and me as well, because you gave birth to it in my decaying woodshed, briefly before giving your life.

Should I show your family? Probably not, or they realize who I am. They don’t deserve it either way. Not your brother who is wiping his eyes right now, even though he isn’t crying. Not your father who is pretending to join you in your coffin, and not your mother who keeps looking at me weirdly, wondering who I am.

“The poor family!” The chatterboxes behind me disrupt. “How long did it take the police to find her, again? A few months?”

Exactly 189 days, you cunt! 180 it took them to find a trace of her at all. A strain of hair in the woods where she used to go running. If I told them any of this, would it finally seal their lips? Maybe I should try and if I did, I might be able to feel my fingers again. If my cramping fist won’t loosen up soon it will fall asleep and I will end up hitting the confessional so as to feel something again.

Just like my hand, you must have felt, Lina: numb and heavy during the last months of your life. You didn't want to be here anymore and only ever got into my jeep, so I could take you away. Unlike everyone else in this room, I know the truth. Of course I do: I've watched you long enough.

For months I have seen your despair from the darkest corners of the streets. I have recognized the longing in your paintings whenever I peeked into your window, felt the boredom behind every smile whenever I followed you on your nights out, and read the cryptic suicidal thoughts in your diary when you were asleep.

You wanted to leave because they demanded an orderly life from you.

"I'd rather die," you told your journal, because you couldn't feel alive without chaos.

I hope someday the sobbing hypocrites in this church will understand that it was them what killed you - by trying to take away the mess that living was to you. I slit your throat, my dear, but I didn't kill you. I couldn’t have, because I loved you, Lina: from afar and without expecting you would ever love me back. In fact, my love was unconditional enough to end your suffering when I saw it. I’ve done it out of mercy and that I had to do it is only due to them: the people who surrounded, but never even saw you.

© Sima B. Moussavian 2022-07-16


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