Skin Deep, Iris 5

She had taken turns pointedly ignoring his presence or shooting him angry looks. Neither action had any effect on the white boy's sudden take-charge attitude. Iris scowled and quickly swiped the soapy cloth about her body. She'd looked forward to a long hot shower, but now because of the white boy's uninvited presence she was forced to cut it short. Iris wasn't happy having him in her private space. She just knew that if left to his own devices he would see their shared situation as an opportunity to explore her home and get answers that Iris was unwilling to provide. He probably figured, why not? He had certainly explored every other part of her.

Iris quickly dressed and returned to where she'd left her 'husband'. Her jaw clenched in irritation at the sight of the empty living room. "I knew that muhfucka was going to pull this shit." It wasn't a large house: two bedrooms, a bath, a kitchen and a living room. She had just passed through four of the rooms. That left only the spare bedroom, which had been converted to a studio.

She found the white boy there. He had uncovered the easel holding her latest drawing and was examining it so closely that his nose nearly touched the surface. "Is it all white people who got no understanding… Or just you?" Iris pushed him aside roughly and re-covered the canvas with a piece of cheesecloth. She normally had no issue with one of her pieces being seen before it was finished. But the little girl was different. 

From the time Iris began to seriously draw (around the seventh grade), at every chance she got she found herself sketching pictures of a little girl in various poses. The pictures were always greatly detailed, her features delicate and her expressions joyful. It drove Iris crazy trying to recall where she had seen the little girl. It wasn't until her senior year of high school that she solved the mystery. The little girl in her drawings was the reflection Iris saw when she looked into the mirror of her mind. 

The discovery saddened her to think that even her own mind could not handle her physical appearance. That she was too ugly for even her thoughts to accept. It was her cousin Joy who had taken issue with Iris' belief. "I can't believe you don't see it," she cried. "That is you! That little girl is the soul I see when I think about the person you are."

Iris chose to believe her. She needed to. It bolstered her self-confidence to know that such beauty existed inside her. It didn't matter if no one else could see it. She would always know it was there.

"That's beautiful," the white boy gestured toward the canvas.  "You could make a living doing this."

"I do make cash from this. As a matter of fact, it's how we met yesterday."

Her revelation stunned the white boy. He began to pepper Iris with questions and demands. She made it obvious that she had nothing to say until he returned to the living room days away from her studio. "I am gonna get a beer."  Iris grabbed a bottle of dark ale from the fridge. Through the doorway she could see her 'husband' pacing nervously in front of the sofa. She hoped that hearing what she remembered might trigger his own memories.

"All week I've been in the lounge of this little Motel Six drawing sketches for the tourists," Iris began. She recounted some of the drawings she'd done, ignoring the white boy's interruptions when he thought she was rambling. As Iris spoke, details of that day became clearer and she realized that the key to her lack of memory had to be the 'complimentary' iced tea she had been given. And the culprit behind it all was her ex-boyfriend Craig. "That muhfucka must have slipped me something."

It wasn't like Craig couldn't have done it. She had been the one to tell him her plans when he called the previous night looking to "hook up" one more time. 'Craig', she'd interrupted what her ex-boyfriend considered sweet talk, "I ain't got time for this. I gotta be on Tropicana first thing in the morning."

Nothing she remembered was really helpful to the white boy. He still could not recall how he and Iris ended up together. He kept asking her to repeat her story over and over, as though one of those times she would somehow pull a solution out her ass. Iris had enough. "Fuck this. I'm gonna call Craig." 

While she waited for him to answer, Iris continued to level threats Craig's way. "If he don't answer, you and me are going to go- Muhfucka! What did you do to me," Iris screamed as soon as Craig picked up the phone. His reply made her see red. "Don't give me that shit! I saw you on the video!" It was only when her ex-boyfriend heard the white boy in the background did Craig drop his pretense of innocence. "Oh, you want to know why he here?" Iris snarled the question. "He keep asking me where you live so he can come fuck you up for what you did to him!"

Whatever other threats Iris intended to toss at Craig were cut off when the white boy snatched the phone from her hand. "Are you crazy?" He slammed the phone down on the stand.  "Look, I don't care any more how this marriage happened." Apparently the thought of possible violence was enough to finally bring their encounter to a halt. "Bright and early Monday morning you and I are going to be waiting at the courthouse when it opens. Be ready."

'Oh, I'll be ready,' Iris thought. 'The sooner I get rid of yo skinny white ass, the better.' Just for emphasis she silently flipped him the bird as he strode angrily out the door.  "And once I get that settled," Iris announced into the silence, "I'ma find Craig bitch ass and beat the shit outta him."

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