Erin Victoria Bradley
THE SECRET WORLD OF YAYO
Vanessa’s loneliness beckoned her to the white room, where the ceiling vanished into a mist so fine that it melted into six suns and the sediments were of pink marble with flecks of orange and white. So white. Not everyone could make it there. Only those pure-hearted, lonely few who still believed in magic could ever find the door, the white-hot keyhole, and they remained in life like the unicorns, all but extinct. She had found it in her fifteenth year, when she had looked into a mirror and for the first time understood what it meant for a smile to not touch the eyes. Her key was a metal spoon, stolen from the kitchen of her dreary first life, and a bag of white powder was the sacred artifact that opened her eyes to the magic.
She escaped the monotony of the real world by pushing on the golden frame of the door and budging her way inside. The warmth crawling up her cheeks was instant and alleviated the sorrow knotted in the pit of her belly like thorny vines. Visiting the white room was riding a horse, playing the game she couldn’t afford, making love, having everything she was not to have at once.
She did it for herself. Her parents didn’t warn her about the secret world stashed in the walls of the white room because she hid it like all the sweet things that she had to hide, and they boasted about their perfect daughter as though she were invisible among them. Going to church and listening to the preacher in his cold polished suit did nothing to convince Vanessa that she should not visit the white room, breathe the white air, and warm herself with white. She listened each Sunday, her roaming soul more apathetic to the starch in the preacher’s voice. Her eyes sagged with a lost grace, and her face blanched white as her sin. No one noticed her change. She was surrounded by the blind.
She was only herself when she was in the white room, and as her arms withered and her heart began to lust, she became the white room and the white room became her. Her bruises melted into a great violet lake. Her frayed hair grew into a brown field, awave on a velvet breeze. Her heart became the fire in the torch light, the warmth in the spoon. In the white room she only knew love. The walls crawled with love, and nothing else could pierce the silence, until the day her father broke down the door.
She didn’t care. His wail of Vanessa! flooded her field of daydreams, and she didn’t care. He fought his way through a tundra of translucent pearl to find her, Vanessa, his only daughter, and he picked her up by the shoulder and battered her over the tide of his arms. She resisted like a caught fairy, the magic of her sopping wings ruined, shouting that he didn’t know and couldn’t know and never would. What she was going through did not belong to him, and yet here she was, helpless against his ruby veined hands. He couldn’t see the magic of her world washing away, the magic his presence was abolishing, but he could see the white.
Erin Victoria Bradley lives in southern Illinois and is soon to graduate Southern Illinois University at Carbondale with a B.A. in English. This is her first professional publication. She is currently at work on her debut novel and a scattering of short stories.
Image credit: Beryl_snw on Flickr
Read more from Cleaver Magazine’s Issue #12.