Pasatiempo

LIFELESS LOVE

Lola Wetzel, 12, Santa Fe

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Camila J. Alves. I looked up from the document and over at the plastic bag; I could see the outline of her facial features and the curves on her body covered in layers of white.

“I’ll leave it to you then, Miller,” says my colleague.

I wave goodbye, keeping my eyes on the bag. The heavy door closes behind him. I set my clipboard down on the desk and gently approach the client. Carefully, I unzip the bag to reveal a beautiful woman with smooth skin, dark freckles, and a sharp jawline. Her neck is painted in spots of pastel crimson and purple like frozen blueberrie­s. Her eyes, although sunken in, still contained a lingering chestnut gaze. The sight of her immediatel­y lifts my cheekbones into a smile that will never fade. I haven’t felt this deep admiration for anybody since I was in high school, hundreds of years ago.

I begin the embalming process. After washing her, I sit drying her hair with a towel. Her long strands of black silk between my fingers makes me feel warm and giggly inside. I admire her facial features, I use two fingers to open her eyes again, and for once, I don’t mind a client staring at me.

“Miller?” I hear the metal door open with a swing.

I yank my fingers away from her face. “What do you want?! Can’t you see I’m busy?”

“It’s almost time to go home, you can continue this tomorrow.” “Please, I just have to finish drying her hair.”

“Finish up and put her back, quickly.”

“Just leave,” I demand. “You’re taking up my time!” Flustered, he twirls around and pushes through the doors. I roll my eyes and continue scrunching Camila’s hair with a towel. I must work diligently on such an alluring client. Once her hair is completely dry, I prep her to get a long night’s rest. I push her into the cold drawer, but before doing so, I get one last look at her eyes. I reach my fingers out to close them, but then I hear a faint sound.

The mutter of a girl, “No.”

I turn around and stay very still while my eyes dart franticall­y. It’s getting late, must be my head. I run my hands through my hair and look back at the client.

“Don’t go, Silus.” She speaks again, “Please.”

I look over at the client with her head now turned towards her shoulder, her gaze pouring into mine. My chair hits the ground with a loud thud as I back up quickly.

“No, don’t be scared.” Her mouth moves up and down, her neck vibrating with every vowel.

Mind games. As much as I wish this beautiful lady was speaking to me, I know it can’t be possible. I know.

“You’re scaring me!” she giggles. “Now help me up, my legs feel cold.”

I slowly reach my hand out and she takes it, her grasp is warm and evident. I watch as she brings her feet to the floor, her bones fragile like a vase.

“Camila,” her brittle voice chimes.

“Silus.”

“I haven’t heard a name like that before.”

“Oh?” I mumble, still a bit dazed, but I realize she means no harm at all.

She looks around the room for a second, notices the radio, and walks over to it. Her eyes study the dials. “I’m just a bit slow, sorry.” My gaze softens.

She turns a dial and a slow song plays. “This one will do!” She approaches me and lays her hands around my neck. At first I am startled, but then I place my arms on her waist, careful not to add too much pressure. A minute or two go by and then the radio scratches, sending us both confused.

“That was fun, what else should we do?” Camila asks.

I awkwardly laugh and look over to the clock, 11:36.

“Oh, no, I have to get home.”

“Why are you in a rush?”

I franticall­y usher her onto the tray, “Please just close your eyes.” She looks at me confused and worried, then frowns. Her eyes close and I push the tray into the drawer. I quickly grab my bag, turn off the lights, and jog to my car.

I jingle my keys into the lock.

“Good morning, Miller. Are you OK?”

“What? I’m fine. Leave me be.” I shoo my hands up, still struggling with my keys.

The door finally opens and I set my stuff on the small table. My assistant follows me with a tablet in his hands. He places it down, then starts to play a video. I squint to try and see, and then I realize. “Is that me?” I ask.

He nods slowly, biting his lip. I watch as my body dances across the screen, my hands around nothing but the air.

“This was last night around 10:30, you continued to slow dance with yourself for about an hour.”

“That’s weird.”

“It is.” He looks down. “The funeral starts later today, I would finish your client up.”

Quickly, I open the drawer and see my darling, Camila. Her face is lifeless (as it should be). I take out my tools and finish her makeup in two hours. I dress her in the outfit her family requested. Four hours till the funeral, now I have to give her up so she can be placed in a casket for the rest of her afterlife. I brush my fingers along her face and frown.

“Camila, you are so beautiful,” I say, knowing she’s listening somehow.

An idea hits me, one I know I shouldn’t do. I just can’t be separated from her. I get up from my seat and grab a new cadaver bag from the cabinet and eagerly fit her legs, torso, arms, and head into the bag. I zip it up and place her body on the transport cart. Slowly, Camila and I leave our room and make our way to the exit. “Miller?” I hear my assistant stammer from the front office. I shoot him a nasty glare. “What?! What could you possibly want now?”

I quickly push her to my beat-up car. I look around to make sure no one is watching before I unzip the bag and lay her into the backseat where my daughter usually sits. I jump into the front seat and pull out of the parking lot.

“Where are we?”

I immediatel­y light up. “Camila?” I look in the rearview mirror to see Camila sitting upright, smiling. My phone rings, of course, it’s my assistant. I decline and set my phone in the passenger seat. “Oh I see,” she says. “We’re going to be together, yes?” “What do you mean?”

“Be with me.”

I pull over on the side of the road and look back at Camila, her prepossess­ing smile and her eager eyes.

“I think I love you.” I mutter.

“Do it,” she whispers. “You can’t just leave me.”

I look at the beautiful view over the mountain side and how the sunset reminds me of Camila. I press my foot to the accelerato­r for her.

 ?? ?? Lola Wetzel is a seventh grader at Santa Fe School for the Arts and Sciences. When she’s not writing, she loves to partake in dance classes, goof off with her friends, or procrastin­ate on her school assignment­s.
Lola Wetzel is a seventh grader at Santa Fe School for the Arts and Sciences. When she’s not writing, she loves to partake in dance classes, goof off with her friends, or procrastin­ate on her school assignment­s.

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