Within two weeks of entering the circle, I was given a role in a ritual surrounding you. I began to call myself ‘Our Lady of The Worms’.
I would kneel beside your tiny body, your head hidden by a mound of earth and twigs. In preparation for you being in this position, I had another, more minor role. An afterthought role: to cover all around your eyes in kohl. Stroking your delicate lids with the sponge, up to your eyebrows, down to the climaxes of your cheekbones, across the bridge of your nose. A painted bandit mask. When we put your little head underneath the earth with the holes for your eyes, our leader remarked on the wonder:
”They are absolutely cartoon! So white, and cartoon black pupils. They pop out of the darkness.”
He was right. We trust him. He’s a genius.
We watched your eyes darting, in such a panic, or maybe you were playing with us. Either way it was delicious and filled us with glee. Beside your crotch were my knees. As I watched your eyes intently, I desired so to lift one of my knees over to the other side of your hips and mount you. Try to unravell your reaction from only your eyes and perhaps, eventually scrape away the soil when the curiosity maddened me. But, it wasn’t that kind of ritual.
Our leader produced a small styrofoam box and opened it to reveal worms in soil. This is where my role really kicked in.
As discussed and planned, I picked worms from the box held by our orchestrator and placed them on the soil over your face. You didn’t flinch. When you saw them coming your eyes widened and relaxed into compliance.
As our leader prepared to document this, I placed worms close to your eyes and the other bumps of your lost facial features. I’d collect drool on my finger and flick them at the worms causing them to squirm. We wanted them close to your eyes but not to actually desecrate our darling subject’s glorious cartoon eyes. But when a curious and naughty worm should strike, I would play the role of saviour, flitting between endangering you and being your saviour, yes. That was me: worm-puppeteer, worm-teaser, in our worm theatre.
We got something very beautiful and this is my pride: one photograph at the precise moment of glory. Worm dipping into the hole, towards one of the holiest of the holies. At the best time possible, after the photograph (so my hand would not obscure the shot), and milliseconds before the violation of your eyeballs, I swooped in. Passionately, without thought. It was impossible to beat or recreate. So, we stopped soon after that: our peak.
Your face emerged from the earth. I, ready with dampened cloth, protected your eyes from falling soil and placed my fingers on your eyelids when they were safe from filth and after that, while your eyes opened and looking with gratitude, on your now clean lips. You muttered
”You saved my retinas, my little angel.” The kiss which followed still tasted quite like earth.