Lucie Bonvalet’s Ghost Date

Feb 12, 2016 by

Lucie Bonvalet’s Ghost Date

Haunted Valentine:

 

 

“Touch,” he said. “It’s very soft.” It was, indeed, unnaturally soft. Like something containing inner light, warmly dissolving. I had never met her, but now I was touching her hair. He had shaved her head and had kept her hair. Its color like that of an artificial lemon, its texture that of otherworldly cotton…

My love for him was awkward and painful. His love for the yellow-haired girl was something he had never hinted at before that moment. Yet I had always felt her presence between us, intangible like that of a ghost. That evening her presence finally had a color.

If my life had been a fairy tale, on the night I turned eighteen, a cold November night, in the mountains, an ocean and half a continent away from home with nowhere to spend the night, I would have chosen to knock on his door for shelter. He would have agreed reluctantly, just like it happened in real life. But the hair would have been a witch’s yellow hair, the color of a special poison.

Never having met my rival, I endowed her with quasi supernatural powers. There, in the palm of my hand, curled up, like an acrylic yellow soft kitten, lay her hair that might still hold some of her warmth, her smell. I told him that it could not possibly be real hair, this yellow. He assured me it was. He dared me to touch it. He said it was extremely soft and he guided my hand toward the silky yarn-like relic. I touched with fear in my fingers and registered the softness through my skin. I thought only pure cruelty could feel so soft. Only the darkest despair could be that yellow. Could monstrous transformations be triggered by the awful softness of yellow silk?

“Yes,” I heard myself answer from some place far away, as if under warm water. “Her hair is unusually soft.”

The venom of softness wouldn’t leave the palm of my hand. I developed a passion for lemons, an aversion for sunshine, a mistrust of silk, a nostalgia for November nights, an eccentric penchant for rare species of yellow Japanese chrysanthemums. I dreamt of black cats with yellow eyes, but then in the morning could only remember a black night with two yellow moons, or not remember anything at all.

Lucie Bonvalet is a writer and French teacher in Portland, Oregon.

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