It took up most of the room inside Jaime’s purse. The dangerous black curves of a gun she couldn’t identify. It bullied its way amongst the neglected lip gloss, rose colored wallet, and expired shampoo coupons. It was only there because that’s what girls kept in their purses. There was a CD in there, too, some generic hardcore band with a name probably taken from a William Faulkner novel. The cartridge in the pistol was backwards, sheltering the only bullet inside. She wants to shoot something, to hurt it. She puts on her prettiest dress and a failed attempt at makeup, balancing herself. There is a pain in her neck. She can’t turn her head left or right, her peripherals teasing her with the beauty of a side glance.
She set out to the patch of land behind her high school football field. They used to hold paintball games there. She regrets not having tried it. It was barren and brown with desolation and streaks of packed dirt from the games they used to play. She looked for a can, a squirrel, an abandoned car, something to take her two faced anger out on. The field was as bare as her decision. Would she cause pain through violence or with the hem of her dress?
She finds it. She finds it and it’s something living. Well, not really. It wouldn’t get hurt, well, it wouldn’t scream, is what she meant. It’s a tree, about four feet tall, and a little wider than her forearm. It has a small amount of leaves, enough that she could count them if she really wanted to. She didn’t want to. She turns around and faces the judgmental horizon, the wind teasing the pink fabric of her dress with gentle licks. She reaches into her purse, ignoring the sticky lip gloss and feels the handle of the gun. This...I’ll do this, I guess, she whispers. Her nails skip over the staccato grip of the handle, plucking the delicate one note instrument. Step by step she readies the gun. Safety off, gun up, feet locked, shoulders strong, one eye closed, gun cocked, breath held. Now, aim.
She wonders if the tree actually will scream. Dear God, please, let it be mute, she prays. Her feet begin to dance, awkwardly without music. Is she sweating? Doesn’t matter. She wants to do this. She pulls the trigger, harder and harder, with the strength of a child, but it’s so heavy. The moisture between her finger and the metal scared her, making her think this may be too much for her. She lets out a yelp, something in between an “eee!” and a “no, no,” and does it. She pulls the taunting trigger, and lets the bullet kill something.
Except the gun doesn’t shoot. The cartridge. It wasn’t set right. And the crescendo she wrote in the wind is the only thing that dies.
She lets the gun drop to the ground. What a damn shame, she sighs. She goes home, her dress following her, flowing like a stream. Her purse still holding the burden of the lip gloss and wallet, though there is another bullet lying hidden in the inside pocket, asleep. She forgets about it and saves it for later. Her neck still hurts.