My ideal woman is shifting through identities. Almost every day she’s changing, adopting character traits adapted from real, flesh and blood women. Needless to say she doesn’t appreciate it.
Whenever I visit her she tends to walk off. She can feel the initial signs of my altering her, she has said as much, and turns away which I suppose makes the transformation look cleaner. One minute she has short blonde hair covered by a woolly hat and the next she’s brunette with glasses and puffy cheeks. She has a personality, a resounding one through all the adjustments, though it doesn’t seem to want to acknowledge my existence. I’m kind of into bossy women right now so I’m okay with this.
I think the weight bothers her most. Being a man, I do make it fluctuate. I’m generally realistic when it comes to body shape but I do have moments of weakness where only a buxom figure will do. I sometimes wonder if an invisible corset just suddenly pulls tight around her waist. Of course I don’t ask her such questions especially when I just want a woman who doesn’t always have answers for everything.
I see the way she looks at her reflection sometimes, admiring the pigmentation of her skin. She’s so used to white that tan is refreshing and black is better. I see how she is constantly restyling her hair from time to time, she always rises to the challenge.
Sometimes she talks to me but never about us, always about what books and films are currently out and whether or not I can brush up on my philosophy and politics a bit more. I’m trying, I am honestly trying. As soon as I find out anything new, it goes straight to her. It’s only fair and, besides, I get the distinct feeling she’s properly digested it long before I have.
I once asked her if she was technically my anima, we’re talking Jungian archetypes here of course, and she told me to shift my focus away from pop psychology for a while. Sorry, I meant she encouraged me. I’m just not used to so many words coming out of her mouth all at once.
Okay, I’ll admit it: sometimes I don’t really feel like talking to her either. I’d sooner skip to the sex but the entire experience would suddenly feel spooky and surreal, thrusting at intangibility. I try to be tactful, to be romantic but she’s just not having it. I suppose she knows all my signature moves by now. Not that I really need them, I’m seducing figment here.
Right now she’s a six-foot red head in a leather jacket so I’m watching what I say. I’m trying to bring out a patient nature in her but, every time that I do, she starts to resemble my mother. She’s resisting me. At what point does something or someone you made in your head become a prisoner? Was it ever really a lover in between?
I’m slowly coming to the realisation that I should probably let her out somehow. But then she’d come out as me, with my face and that’s another personality that I can’t handle. Or maybe she’ll just seep out of my ear as a bit of blood or brain matter. I could always cull her. No. No, I haven’t even broached the subject with her yet.
Are you comfortable, Constance? I say. I call her Constance because it seems like a good temporary name. I can’t remember if I’ve actually called her it before now. Are you content, Constance?
And I can see her, smoothing down the creases in her light green tank top, low-cut but I’m still looking her in the eye. She’s got black hair now, punk style which is surprisingly high-maintenance. There’s no loose locks, nothing for me to brush away. She tries to say something but all I can hear is breathing. None of her stock phrases apply to this situation. I can’t find the words for her to say.
I raise a hand, not to hit but brush her away, to gesture her towards the white. Suddenly she stares at me with great intensity, greater than I’ve ever seen in anyone. Before I know it both my hands are at my sides and I’m the one who blinks.
Just like that she’s become a different person.
By Owen Townend
Image: Asia Wardzyńska