Mia De Capatista lived for only one day. She would wake days and weeks before the sun had remembered itself to everyone. There were always two of her, two of her to redouble her worries. There was Mia, rising in anticipation of the repetition of her day, waiting in the performance of her ablutions in chronology’s anteroom. There was Mia, proceeding dutifully about her day’s ministrations. She was unhappy for two reasons: First, She, though uncommonly talented in that regard, had no one to love. Second, she, being a smart girl, could find nothing to assuage her of the futility she felt when she questioned her creator as to why such a young and vibrant creature should be given only one day whose call to await and whose disappointments and travails to encounter over and over without fail.
She kept a room in an ethereal ghetto called Bronks that flew above an island called Manahatta, which itself floated on the sea- it being the province of all girls with unreal fates. Each morning when her day, who was also her master, would, finally, call, she would emerge from her room dressed and perfected for presentation. She would proceed to a station of the metro and descend on a long and otherwise unridden train alone to the island below. The commute would tax the day of its supply of hours so that it was nearly dusk when she arrived, and she had nothing but drifting piles of tabloid newspapers to, not exactly pass the time, but at least stultify her as she rode. On her arrival she would make directly to a bar in midtowne, the place where she drew her day’s pay. There she aided people, with her guile, with elixirs and lethe water, with the loudly trumpeting bloom of her young sex, in forgetting how they had gotten to where they were. She saw people there whose days were each new, pulling them off in new directions (aging them all too quickly, but they didn’t seem to mind).
Under this bar, out of the view of the patrons, on a shelf on a level with her knees, were a row of semi-spherical objects twitching in the shadow of a partial obscurity. These were the quaking, undying heads of her suitors, numbering then 18, and there was ever space on the shelf for additions.
Mia’s unbearable fate was unique even among those born into the strange prenatal contracts consigning them to the unseen, but not unfelt, shtetl where she lived, for her curse was not limited to having been afforded only one day to live and wait on as a handmaiden. It was compounded by the measures her day and master took to assure that she would never escape him. Her master’s penalty for presuming to the station of one of her beaus was a sudden and painless denial of the suitor’s body, resulting in a life lived forever after, undying, as a head on a shelf beneath her bar.
Notwithstanding its persistence in visitation or its jealousness of the beautiful 18-year-old Mia, her single day and master’s blighted craft was proven all the more diabolical with the observation, as it became difficult to avoid making with detachment once eyes were laid on her, that, with such a curse in place, his Mia was the perfect device for amassing a collection of undying, lovelorn heads that would never fail to appreciate in quantity. Mia, for her part, had a penchant for rescue woven into her character that led men into her trap. It was no secret to her day and master that she wished to hie away from him and begin anew, and those patrons who made the ill-advised transformation from patron to suitor were well aware of her need for this and were drawn by it.
“You only have to be 18 to serve, but I usually don’t tell people- sometimes people aren’t comfortable with it, you know? But it’s OK, you know, because we’re talking.” She would sparkle with a contained sadness, a martyrdom whose building discomfort only the perpetually young can sustain, flirting.
“I moved out when I was 17, I haven’t had it good, but, you know. I’m working for awhile and saving for college,” as she would lean closer, her words dreaming the symbols of the future.
If the suitor had found enough of his own unhappiness in the various days he had been given, and if Mia had given him enough drink to forget himself, he might feel called on by his need for ennoblement to rescue the poor, hopeless specimen from her long, hard-luck bad day-the quietly abided fate given to so many pretty girls.
It was unclear what her eternal day and keeper considered the punishable infraction, what signified an irreversible mistake of infatuation, but, ultimately, once a suitor had resolved to befriend the youth with a mind to reforming both his and her lives in the shape of a happy dream, redeeming all with some kind of rescue, His body and all his attachments to the world would vanish in the instant and his head would fall to the the bar he was leaning over, suddenly without the under-standing of its body. Mia would quickly and sadly place the man’s head beneath the bar and clean up his traces before other patrons noticed anything, kissing the heavy thing lightly, out of sight, near where she washed the glasses. The confused head, for its part, was ever unable to cry out, deprived of its lungs and voice.
A pretty girl from the home of nightmares, Mia was no different than most. Even as her day gripped her and her prospects, her special awareness of her fate kept her locked within it, and she was forever taking heads and losing loves, wondering when her awful day would end. The heads, with suffocated voices, (if they came to themselves again) were trying to tell her, still gallant in their mission of rescue-
“Mia, tomorrow is over there. Don’t come back.”
“My love, don’t come back.”