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BLOODY KISSES
Dana Sarfas

You stained the coffee mugs, your fingertips, and my neck with your cardinal lips. I washed the mugs until the paint started to wear. I wiped away any trace of your prints, and I scrubbed your watermark off my neck until it was red from heavy exfoliation.
        There was something unsettling about how well that lipstick suited you. Your Birman-blue eyes softened the initial glare, while your alabaster skin enriched the colour. You applied it with unmatched precision, and oh the line! So crisp, clean. I can’t even slather butter onto bread without shredding the slice, and yet there you were, painting your own self-portrait on your own personal canvas.
        It wasn’t until three months before when I noticed the stains on your sleeves. Looking back now, I should have guessed that something was off. I thought that you were wearing jumpers because you were cold. But being in love with you must have altered my sense of time drastically, because this was mid-July. Many times I asked you whether you wanted to take it off, the extra layer was taking its toll on you, but you would always decline.
        Not only did your style change, but so did you. No longer did you apply your lipstick in the kitchen while you watched the kettle boil and me fail at making our lunch. The bathroom door was closed more than it was open. A procedure that would take you two minutes to complete became an hour, and the amount of cotton pads with red smears on them told me that your accuracy had wavered. I don’t know what changed, but all I know now is I was too late when I found out.
        It’s been another three months since. I carry your lipstick in my bag pack. Sometimes the lid comes off, and there are streaks of that cardinal red on my belongings. I preferred it on your lips more than on the back of my phone.