There is something isolating about being someone no one knows anything about.
There is something freeing about it, too.
Because I don’t have to close my eyes and wait for sleep and hope that, by the grace of some watchful god, I am allowed to dream of being Kitt.
I can pick up a pen, and I become Kitt.
She came to me in a dream, this time.
Looking at her, I had finally found myself in front of the looking glass that Alice had touched.
She had hair like mine, but half of it was braided up and back, the rest it falling under in waves that could challenge the oceans’. Inside the crown, small flowers and leaves were tucked, in patterns that made her- well, me- look like Mother Earth incarnate.
It was black, almost obsidian, the space around her and me. Only our reflections could be seen in the floor, the ceilings, and the walls. But between us was the glass, which got more prominent as we kept our gazes.
While I looked, up and down, at her gown and her jewelry, her hair and her eyes, she did the same to me and mine.
I can’t imagine the shock our likeness gave to her.
Which made me realize, she was conscious enough to see me too. Conscious enough to realize, despite our differences in time, in realities, in dimensions, we two were the exact same.
Without me, there would be no her. And without her, there would be no me, either. At least not this me, in the black room separated by glass.
Both of us went on like that for a while. Looking each other over, coming to our acceptances of the other’s existence, wondering what it all meant.
For her, I don’t know what that was. What she thought of seeing me, if she decided who or what I was, exactly.
But I know what she was.
What she is, standing before me.
She is Kitt.
And with her gown and her jewelry and her crown of Mother Earth, she is what Kitt is to become when it all comes to and end.
The moment I finished that thought, we shared a smile. One step at a time, and almost in unison, we got close enough to the glass to touch our hands together.
I lay my forehead against it, and she put hers, and it felt like fire. Fire so strong, I had to close my eyes.
And when I opened them, I was on the other side of it, looking at myself.
Looking at Katherine.
I took several steps back, stumbling over my own feet. She did the same.
I gave her another once-over, and her to me, and I understood.
Kitt did not become Katherine, and Katherine did not become Kitt.
We are meant to be one and the same.
But until I write her, until I put pen on paper and make her words something to read, something to see, one, wrongfully, will exist without the other. It is only if I write, that they are both me, both real, both here.
And to write, I must become.
I must become Kitt.
The moment I woke up, I called Pearl and asked her to meet me during her lunch break.
I got off the phone and onto my computer to draft what I wanted Kitt to become. I moved my words from work, all the scraps and scenes and descriptions of her character, onto the screen in front of me. I tried to make sense of them, rearrange them, fit them into places that would fill the middle of the beginning and the end of the story that I already had.
Then I unplugged my laptop, tucked in my bag, and headed down to Pearl.
It was time she met Kitt.
The whole time I was talking, Pearl was sucking down her frozen lemonade.
She looked at me the whole time, of course. Her eyes changed shapes a few times, but other than the seconds she came up for air, I couldn’t see her full face. I had no way to tell what she was really thinking.
And it was making me nervous.
With the masks, we’ve all trained ourselves to control our eyes. The way they move and shift and take in or send away the people we meet. With that, we’ve paid less attention to how our lips and our noses squiggle and squirm, because under their covers they’re left to do as they please.
Pearl has made an especially horrible habit of this, scrunching her nose when I someone says something they should have kept from their mouth, and folding in her lips, quicker than she used to, when I do something that makes her turn pink with second-hand embarrassment.
She knows this, because I brought it to her attention. So whenever she thinks I’m looking for her tells, she occupies them with food and beverages, or hides them behind books and blankets, and waits it out to think it through privately.
Despite my nerves, I ignored it and kept going. Scrolling through what I had worked out, shelling out the receipts that I had written on at work, describing the desperate feeling to finish her that won’t leave me alone. Every and any detail that would grab her attention the way I wanted it to.
It wasn’t until I got to the dream that she put her lemonade down.
“She came to you in a dream?!” Pearl widened her eyes at me and her tone shifted in a way that made me feel like she was making fun.
“Yes. I know it sounds stupid. But she did. She stared at me and I stared at her and then we kind of…merged?” I started to close my laptop and stuff the receipts back into my bag when she grabbed my hands and kept them in hers.
“Kid! You know what this means, don’t you?” What I thought she was feigning was pure, and the blood in my veins started pounding against my skin so hard I thought it might spill out.
“No,” I squeaked.
“You’ve got a book!” She swung my hands down softly and picked her lemonade back up, shoving the straw between her teeth.
I felt my face start to turn pink, and she waited until it was bright red to keep going.
“I mean, you’ve still gotta write the thing and figure out what the whole middle bit is, but other than that, it’s a book!”
“Thanks Pearl. But how do you know?” I started to rub my hands against my face to get rid of the red, and she looked at me like I was crazy.
“How do I know?! Kid, she came to you like Bella did to that chick who wrote Twilight. It’s your destiny.”
Pearl is absolutely, 100%, obsessed with Twilight. Besides the little stories that I write, I’m pretty sure that those books are the only works of fiction she’s ever read.
“Thanks, P.” Her drink was finished and her smile was crazy wide, her nose all scrunched in joy and her eyes wider than before.
Before I could say anything more, her timer went off and it was time for her to get back to work.
“I can’t wait to read it kid, really. Go back home and write! I want the first chapter in my hands by your next shift!”
“Okay, okay! But really, I do.” She kissed my on the forehead and headed back toward the kitchen. She was almost passed to front counters before she twisted herself around and glared at me.
“Before I forget. Pear, kid?”
I had hoped she’d forgotten about that.
“Yeah…what do you think about her?”
“She’s annoying. But I like that even in a fake world, you still want me around.” She smiled and turned back on her heels, stepping quick, but not letting herself get out of sight before she called over her shoulder, “We’re still gonna talk about it later!”
“No we won’t!” The second her hair whipped around the warmers, I jammed my things into my bag and grabbed my keys.
I’ve got a chapter to write.