Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Roses are. . .

Anna had a tendency towards red, like lips, cherry popsicles, rose petals, a brand new ferrari, even a fire hydrant in a perfect neighborhood. For her it was a red summer top, rouge cargo shorts, red checkered chuck taylors, Victorias secret “Body by Victoria” thong, tennis cut red nike socks; she had a whole closet, an arsenal of red. The literal Red riding hood of her time. “I just like it she’d say, I don’t know why,” and then her face would get rosy with embarrassment.

Red was also the color of blood; deep red, like rust went for a swim in a glass of ocean spray. Thick puddles of the sticky, salty, liquid would poison her thoughts; yet make her smile with what can only be described as a sense of relief. Doctors attributed this affliction and fascination with the vibrant hue to a day in Anna’s early life now referred to as her “rebirth.” “Rebirth,” because the experience, the very fierce awakening the young child was exposed to was like a damaged Phoenix springing from the fires of hell . She had only vague memories of that period in her life. She remembered the car mostly, the thick brown leather seats with claw marks from ginger’s feline rage. She remembered sleeping in mom’s lap as 50 states went by in 50 dreams. There was the diner in Kentucky, the Motel 6 in New Orleans, the library in Maine. There were friends for 3 days and new older men who mother would take for walks that would end in ice cream for Anna. Mom always had ice cream and her scent; always like the ripest of peaches on picking day in Georgia. Yes, Anna did remember some things, but only flashes like a coma took hold every month and wrapped her in a cocoon. And then darkness. . . .darkness. . . .darkness and finally


It was truly a day that shook the small Arkansas town from its sleepy embrace. August 5, 1989, that was when Anna was found, when darkness turned to dirty rouge. The police report described it as a massacre of horrific proportions; in reality it was a wholesome little blonde girl crying in a massive puddle of human life surrounded by pieces of her rotting mother. It was soon reported in “The Little” daily paper that this mystery child had been sitting in a pile of viscera for 3 whole days until she was discovered by the Taylor kid. The coroners would say it was simple, her mother had been stabbed to death, 15 times in fact, yet there was no evidence on the scene, no id on the victim. Who was Anna and why was she here? Who was the victim? All unanswered questions. It was as if the devil himself had dropped in to slay an angel and shake up this small southern town. The authorities would try and talk to Anna, but all she would do is giggle to herself and stare. They would offer her ice cream and treats and dolls and games, anything to speak but her red red lips were shut. There was always ice cream but it never made her mouth move. Anna was stained that day in the most simple of terms.

One of the local school teachers and his wife decided that this young thing needed a home, needed love, an education, a family, and they took her into their life. It was a tough period for them; barely making it by financially in a town that gave sideways glances like they were a traveling freak show because of a daughter that wouldn’t speak. Gradually Anna got more and more comfortable with her family, her mother would take her shopping, her father would take her fishing. A new child entered their lives and Anna loved her brother more than her confused understanding of the value of human life would allow. 1 year after the accident she began to speak and proved to be very bright. Her thoughts flowed like an artist and “she was the most articulate in her class” her teachers would say. Then on her 9th birthday (perhaps because of regression, perhaps because of some subconscious indicator, or perhaps just because little girls are predisposed) it was a red elephant, a red skirt please, I want a red balloon, a red bike would be nice. Her parents were never suspicious they would just say Anna wouldn’t you like to try another color. But no Anna had a new religion, it was the worship of this morbid hue. Scientifically it was called Chromoluda but in the Luntz household it was “Anna’s stage,” “She just likes the color,” or “Girls will be girls.” But really it was quite odd.

On her 12th birthday she went as far as painting the walls and ceiling of her room the color of a radio flyer, getting paint all over her red shag rug. Her friends would avoid her room asking if they could play downstairs where the AC was on. Her parents were just happy that she was becoming a normal young woman, besides the obvious obsession with rose, rouge, rojo, red. They would never speak of where they found her and she would never ask about it. Though the older she got the more this color began to take over her life. There was the Christmas photo when the red contacts made their debut. Strangers would feel sorry for the family, citing their daughter as an unfortunate albino because of her beady mouse eyes.

Life was as normal as it really could be for a child with a past so mysterious and morose Charles Manson wouldn’t open her fan mail. Shortly after Easter on her 13th year of living Anna became a woman. Anna became a woman and lost herself for good on the same very day. It was a constant struggle with her, as if she was always chasing an image of her former self down a mouse hole or through a strange door quite like Alice; but on this day she was much too tired to keep running. Anna’s parents called and called and called, “Easter Dinner!! Anna ham!” her brother even tried “Anny Bananny, come sit next to me. . . .Anny.” When there was no response they went upstairs, knocked on the bathroom door, no response, her father busted it in grunting as it came down. There sat Anna in the middle of the cold tile floor like a marionette without a master bleeding and bleeding from between her legs. Who knew a teenage girl could bleed this much, in the most serious of explanations it was the period even science couldn’t explain. Anna wasn’t dead, she wasn’t alive, she was somewhere in between; and that was permanent. Anna sat there in this state staring at the white white walls with a small look of confusion on her pretty face; a look that was also permanent. Tears were inevitable, the family cried, their tears were clear and they watched as red came for its lost child.