Marionette

Stella’s girlfriend, Kate, was going through a mindfulness phase and it was causing problems in their shared studio apartment. Arguments broke out over where everything belonged. Kate’s new healing crystals had to be kept in specific locations for maximum effectiveness. Her yoga mat with a dreamcatcher embroidered on the front crowded the small strip of space between the TV and the coffee table, which had to be shifted to the left for the mat to roll out all the way out. The crystals, all five of them, were slender and pale purple. Purple is purifying, Kate said when she brought them home from the mall. They’ll bring forth spiritual connectedness, she told Stella, who nodded and wondered if that meant it would bring them closer to the dead.

Stella learned quickly not to move the crystals. They needed to stay either by the window (so the crystals could charge with the power of the sun) or on their nightstand (so they could feel the said sun-charged power while they slept). One time, Stella almost mistook one of the crystals, smooth but with a sharp point at its end, for her bowl, which often sat next to the crystals caked with remnants of weed. The crystals, Stella pointed out, did not lure her into dream-filled sleep.

She’d come home from work to find her girlfriend lying on the floor in corpse pose to the beat of drumming meditation music. Stella would tip toe around their shared square feet. Close the bathroom door slowly, mindfully, she’d think to herself as the lock clicked. She tried to join the craze. She’d take bubble baths for self-care. But she’d wind up scrolling on her phone while she sat immersed in clouds of bubbles, lavender-scented and disappearing. She even touched the crystals, one finger resting on each of them. When nothing happened, she spoke to whatever spirits might be listening: do your thing.

Stella googled “crystal powers” while on the toilet one night and discovered that Katy Perry slept with rose quartz tucked in her hand. Another article suggested that the best way to carry good vibes around with you all day was to stick the crystal in your bra. She pictured its sharp edge stabbing her tit.

Since it was the only place in the apartment with a door, she spent more time in the bathroom on her phone, wondering if this was why her neck kept hurting. She could hear Kate say: listen to what your body is telling you.

Outside, the coffee table had been dragged left, yoga mat unfolded. Kate’s body stood tall like a mountain. The crystals had been moved across the windowsill with the setting sun. Stella heard the instructor on the video tell Kate to lift her left leg in the air, bend at the knee, to balance and be still. To move like she was being controlled by a marionette string. 



Christina is a writer, digital communications professional, and vegan taco enthusiast living in Washington, D.C. Her fiction has been featured in or is forthcoming from HaveHasHad, Flash Frog, and The Lumiere Review. She can be reached on Twitter @christinaltudor

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