Ada holds on to her keys, tightly they stop jingling.
She thinks about her hair and what time it is.
Walking and looks on the ground.
Then bulks up and erases the happiness from her face.
She contemplates whether walking faster makes her look weak.
Every movement unnatural.
Ada is not prepared at all.
She remembers the grass, the hill, his and hers.
The whistling, the platonic aggression.
The jungle body ready to fight. The cowardice of the bystander girl.
The blue staircase, she is standing on the edge of a step.
She takes it all in, every word he says, accusing her forevermore.
Ada thinks about the drums, the slippers, the approaching sound, the gallop.
Eyes always rest on her, but they do wander.
She can’t put an end to them, they’re free and do as they please.
Ada is adjusting her clothing, her hair, her posture, endlessly.
He becomes silent, the big talker, afterwards, always.
Once and never again. That’s his decision, a plan unspoken.
Everything disappears, every pretence, every sparkle from before.
The firework erases everything then. She understands. Her whole value.
Discovers where it lies through him and how he behaves.
She feels like her clothes can’t cover up what she did.
Can’t undo it, reclaim her worth, his interest. Disowned.
Her new lipstick faded, her new shirt faded, the scent of her hair useless and faded.
Nothing is of importance now that it has happened.
It wasn’t even great for her. His chest is inflated as he zips up his pants, the conqueror that walks away.
He thinks he knows it all, her.
She knows that he is so blind.
But fact does not matter, his narrative is clear and listened to.
She vanished from his board.
Ada Oley grew old in one night. Repeatedly.
Certain that if she acts the same way this devaluation will never happen again.
This disappointment, alien to herself and equal to him.
“Portrait de Julie Manet” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)