I stared at the picture. She floated there, halfway between the ceiling and the floor. Filling the room with water had been difficult. I’d spent weeks sealing the door, and the windows, so the water didn’t leak into the yard, or the hallway. I was quite happy with the result. A ground floor room, filled with water. And the walls didn’t collapse. They held, against all that water. That I’d made them from cinder block, packed with concrete, and steel bars probably didn’t hurt. That took months also. Making them look like normal walls took weeks. Getting the plaster layer right, with the right texture, and color, had taken ages, and I’d had to tear it down, and scrape it all off several times.
The result had been worth it. The image was priceless. Beautiful. Perfect.
As difficult as it had been to get the room straight, the hardest part had been her. I’d needed someone who could hold her breath for half an hour. They don’t make humans that way. But it had to be half an hour. That’s how long it took the water to settle when it was stirred. How long it took every bubble to fade.
So, I’d had to make her.
I’d had to find a way to build a five foot four inch blonde, with blue eyes, and killer legs. A doll. That’s all she was. A doll. Life size. I’d spent a thousand sleepless nights trying to get every detail right. The hair. The lips. The skin. The fingers, and nails. Toes, ankles, wrists, eyes, nose. All of it. Every detail.
I remembered the wigs. I’d torn boxes of them apart to get all the right hairs. And I’d placed each one. Thousands of them. One at a time. I had to get them the right color, the right length. I threw entire bags of wasted hair out in the trash. I’m certain the trash people wondered what I was doing. And I wondered how many women had needed the wigs I’d destroyed.
Her skin was textured plastic. It felt all wrong to touch, but it was perfect to look at. Perfect to see.
The ballet gown was hand made. The sequins each placed perfectly. Each where it had to be. Each part of an intricate puzzle. Only when they were all placed did the gown look perfect. The seams, and the skirt with all it’s separate feathers, and bits of fabric.
She was a work of art. My work of art. I’d learned that when I was making her. As I’d learned I’d never find her in this life.
She’d made the perfect picture. One I’d love forever. My perfect image of a woman. The woman I wanted. The woman I could never have.
And I knew, as I’d known when I was making her, I would never find her. Never know her laugh, her touch, her smile. Never learn to love her. To care for her. She was everything I wanted. Everything I dreamed of. And everything I would never find.
All she would ever be was the woman in the picture. And I would grow old, and die. And live my entire life.
Unloved and alone.
Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 22nd week. You can read about the challenge here. This week, I tried something different again Hope it’s worth the effort. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that show up. They are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.