It cost a little money. I dyed my hair blond, leaving the roots. I went to a high end hair dresser. I told her to straighten it and make it shiny. When she was done my hair like a puddle of oil; it was smooth and reflective. Then I went to East Dallas to get my nose pierced and a tattoo of a swan with vines twining it. I put the tattoo just above my hip, and it covered just the tip of my front waist. That was about two thousand, all of that. I got the blue contacts, but I didn’t need the tanning salon. I brushed my cheeks with blush like I had been in the sun. I hung the pictures up on my wall and studied them. I told Stern I was looking for clues, and I was. I walked how it looked like she would walk, and I talked how it looked like she would talk. I lost weight. The guys at work didn’t quite put it together, they looked at me funny and they thought something, but they couldn’t quite place it. They asked for my number. I put together clothing that I had seen in the photographs her family had shown me. I listened to my sprinklers at night, like the rain, and I slept with my torso at an angle over my body and I sat right next to Roger in AA and I asked him to coffee and he turned as red as a beet and agreed.
And I realized it wasn’t enough. I did not become Annabel to win over Roger. I want Annabel’s life. I want to be Annabel completely.
I left AA immediately and drive to the Clarks’ home. I recognize the house from the police file and pull into the empty spot that Annabel’s car would have taken. No one is home, but that is fine. Perfect even because now I can wait for my parents to find me in the morning. I walk out my car and into the house, it is exactly how I imagined it to be, the foyer is spacious and the staircase large and grandiose. As I walk up the steps I see picture of Annabel, me, lining the walls. At age 6 in a ballerina outfit, 16 at prom, and christmas photos through the years all showcasing the life Annabel, I, had.
The door to my room is open. The bed has been left unmade, my pillow has tear stains in them, I imagine my mother coming in here inhaling my pillow for any last lingering scents of myself. I grab the pillow and stuff my face into it inhaling deeply. I gasp for air and release the pillow.
As I look up, I look into my reflection from the vanity mirror and I feel wrong. Something is wrong.
I look perfect. But I am not done.
Annabel is not alive. I should not be alive.
I look around the room frantically and my gaze locks on dance trophies lining the self. I grab the largest one.
There is no time to think.
I must be complete.
I must be Annabel.