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Worn Silk

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“Bye.”

Her smile faded as she put the phone back on the dial, slowly and gently this time compared to when she would usually slam it back down on the counter. For the first time in a long time, she smiled, though it still faltered. She could hear the bustling party in the background of his call, all for him and his film, his success and the love he got. It reminded her of what she used to be, but she was happy for him. Either way, it was better she not get involved, she told herself as she cracked open the bottle of anti-depressants, along with her final bottle of whiskey. His life was taking off, why should she drag him down with her?

One pill down.

Seeing herself in the mirror then, she would have thought that the old Silk stood in her place; she had done her makeup just like the artists had in her films, her nails were that enticing crimson color again, and she had decked herself up in a scarlet, (ironically) silk sari. Certain things told her that this wasn’t the Silk from the dazzling movies, that this wasn’t the Silk she so desperately wanted to be; her classic smirk didn’t quite carry the same glint. Her attitude was marred by the dark bags under her lids that were still visible, despite the concealer she had blended over them. The eyes that used to make men throw their money in the air now betrayed an endless darkness.

Two pills down.

Silk tried envisioning how it would go. She would fade into a sleep-like state, slowly but calmly, on the comforts of her satin sheets, in her dim but gradiose mansion. Her eyes would close and never open. Maybe someone would dare to check on her, though she hadn’t the slightest clue as to who genuinely cared enough about her to come. Abraham? Maybe. She wasn’t sure. She had her reservations about him. Though, unlike the other men, he didn’t pretend to be crazily devoted to her, didn’t pretend to view her as some idol when in reality she was what all women were in men's eyes: an object. He was real, more real than Suryakanth’s caresses down her skin or the shy and innocent grin of Ramakanth. He didn’t pretend to be someone he wasn’t just for her, and she felt like just maybe she knew his true intentions. But, he was a man, after all. And to men, Silk was a game to be played until they were no longer entertained. When the game was over, they took a little piece of her with them as a prize. And over time, she was left with less and less of the person she used to be.

Three pills down.

Silk had never thought of death. Not really, not for herself. She believed what she was taught to believe, like most. But now, well, she was forced to reckon with that. Was there going to be some grand, overwhelming feeling? Would she feel her spirit lifting out of her flesh, would she rise up and turn, seeing her empty corpse lying on the bed as she moved on? Would she be punished in the afterlife, or had her morally ambiguous existence been just good enough to get her through? She didn’t know, and she didn’t pretend to know. She didn’t need the comforts of knowing what came next. All the comfort she did need laid in the fact that nothing could be worse than her existence now.

Four pills down.

She stood from her vanity and walked towards her bed; the remnants of the confident strut she used to have remained in the way her hips twisted and her steps lined up. The slight wobble of a drunk threw her off, but she managed to catch herself. She rested atop her covers, arranging her hair and her sari ever-so-carefully as to maintain her vision of beauty and perfection, especially in death.

Five pills down.

The phone by her bedside rang. Silk was hesitant to pick it up. Was it Abraham? No, he didn’t care enough to call back. Though, she did wonder if he had conveyed her message. She didn’t know what reaction she was expecting. That the man she had devoted herself to since childhood, the first man to break her heart, stood next to the second as the both of them blinked emotionlessly in response to her farewell? Probably not. Silk wanted to hear that they broke down in tears, regret in their hearts as they cried out her name. She wanted to hear about how they faced their due karma for what they did to her. She wanted them to feel some semblance of the devastation that they put her through. Then her rationale kicked in, and she realized that it was just a wish, not a reality. And in her mind’s eye she could see Suryakant flashing his devilish smile, the apparent relief and not a hint of remorse captured in his deepening wrinkles.

Six pills down.

The nausea kicked in, bile rising in her throat as her body rejected the poison she was imbuing it with. Her will was stronger, however, as she breathed in and controlled the feeling. Sweat began to form in small beads across her forehead. Fear struck her heart like a pin in a cushion. Did she really want to do this? What if she kept trying, kept barging through film studios and asking directors for something, anything? What if she struck gold again, regained her fame, her status, her glory? What if the next morning everything would fix itself, and she just didn’t know it yet?

Seven pills down.

No. That was unrealistic. That was the back of her mind screaming fantasies at her to protect itself from destruction. A defense mechanism. She knew better, though. She knew that her time in the limelight wasn’t coming back, that she was Silk Smitha and there was not a person on Earth like her, and the problem wasn’t that they had replaced her but that they had found someone altogether new to fit their fickle tastes. The truth, as damaging as it was, is that the world had moved on from Silk Smitha, and had left her to deal with the ruins they made of her.

Eight pills down.

The phone rang once more. Again, she told herself, probably the bank to once again harass for more money, the payment of more dues and debts that she could not give after washing almost every penny down the drain with her love of alcohol and need for escape.

Nine pills down.

Her heartbeat grew louder in her ears, thumped stronger against her ribcage, ran faster as blood flooded through it. A massive migraine rocked through her head, but she refused to move or give in. The end was near, she reassured herself.

Ten pills down.

What had she really done with her life? The question suddenly popped up, and she supposed that if there were any time to address it, it was now. She provided entertainment. She provided joy and passion and excitement to countless lives. And in return she got wealth, she got fame, she got unbridled amounts of love. But in the end? In the end she faded to the background. Everything she had cultivated was taken from her. And she was left with less than what she had started out with. Because at the very least, when she was that young village girl trying to make it in the big city, she had her passion and her hopes and dreams, she had her dignity and her truth. Now she didn’t even have herself. So what did she really do with her life? Could she really say much about that? She loved, perhaps too much, and lost.

Eleven pills down. 

Finally, under the strain of toxicity, her breathing slowed until her chest froze, no longer completing its ritual of rising and falling. Her eyes closed, and if one wasn't paying close enough attention, it seemed as though she had simply fallen asleep. But that was not the case. Her consciousness faded, and just like that, Silk Smitha went out contrary to how she came: enveloped in silence, alone, and at peace.