Aimee Parkison Girl in Special Collector's Edition

If she’s a stacked blonde like her dead mother, she needs city lights’ iconography in careful stiletto steps inching towards a man who will be her benefactor or her murderer. Like the police, she forgets to care.

Before she realizes he is making her dreams comes true, he promises to put her in the special collector’s edition, mapped out on the screening-room floor. In the dark, his powerful hands travel over her body, after a mickey, another blackout where the last thing she sees are his smiling eyes and remembers the accident, how her mother died at the window factory infused with light.

Her mother was the girl in the window. Then, the window broke and she was gone, instantly, one part of her body severed from another, by the window that trapped her.

Like the witness of a freak accident wearing Candy perfume, she recalls odd things, making bizarre connections, like the way sexual dependency smells like a Prada handbag dropped onto an unmade bed. Her heroes are thieves, men and women brave enough to steal a girl from her life. Few are willing to steal the ones giving themselves away.

Even while getting high, she avoids tattoos until an inventive and demanding casting director convinces her to have a permanent garter etched high on her delicate thigh. After the tattoo, she cries elegantly, and he takes photographs.

The tattoo throbbing, she falls asleep in a brick-walled bedroom on a stained mattress heaped with clothing of women she doesn’t know.

On the brick wall are acrylic portraits of smiling dogs painted by an amateur artist with no talent, yet the eyes are so beautiful like her mother’s eyes painted with liquid liner in the style of Cleopatra. The artist is here, not speaking, just painting the dogs’ eyes, again and again, in the portraits. He paints them with layers and layers of liquid eyeliner stolen from her makeup bag.

She rises from the bed, covered in sweat, and wants to take a bath but finds the blue bathroom with its vintage clawfoot tub is full of video cameras, green lights blinking in the high corners of the ceiling. She wants to cry, again, but stops, remembering her presence, what her eyes look like with streaked mascara and thinks this might be her chance to recreate herself in another’s eyes, for a stranger to record the details of what happens.

She bathes, gazing into the camera while lathering her hips and thighs with pink soap, taking special care with the tender tattoo.

Healing in bloody bands, she remembers growing up in a house full of dogs in Lexington, where her father sang ballads to her mother all through the night. But after her mother died, she witnessed the last days of her childhood when the dogs were sent away, her father stopped singing, and the world became dark until she began to lighten, strangely, from within.

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