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  April 2012
volume 9 number 1
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Alice Constantine April 2012



photo by rina rose

    Alice Constantine is an artist who chooses language as a medium to create and express art. Thanks to the encouragement of her passionate and artistic grandmother, she built a steady relationship with words and poetry while growing up. But her curiosity for mysticism and the esoteric has led her to pursue studies in understanding the mind and the human condition. Raised in Taipei, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, and New York City, she received a B.A. in Religion from Columbia University. She published her first short story in River's Voice in 2005, and is currently working on her first novel.



Happily Ever After

    “Shoes. Several pairs. High heels, actually... really petite ones. At first glance I thought they're little girls shoes, but they're not. Definitely for a woman. Custom made, of course. Regular shoes are never made that small. True leather. Hand made. And they're very well made. At first, I thought they were for me, but only when I tried them on, I realized they're all about a half size too small. I mean,who wears a size four? I'm a size four-and-a-half and I thought my feet were small.”
    “I thought you were a size five,” the red-haired woman said.
    “Well, I sometimes fit in a four-and-a-half.” The woman brushed her blonde hair away from her face.
    “Where did you find them?”
    “He kept them in the trunk of his Jaguar inside one of his golf club bags. All this time I thought he was golfing with his buddies.” The blonde took a sip from her champagne.
    “That's just awful.” The other woman shook her head, her reddish-brown curls bounced in unison.
    The blonde sighed in agreement.
    “So,what did he say?” The red-hair woman asked, wiping off the condensation from her water glass with her perfectly manicured fingers.
    “I didn't say anything...” The blonde moved the champagne glass away from her lips as she looked down, twirling her curly blonde hair with her index finger. “I put the shoes back where I found them, and then we drove to the city and had dinner.”
    “What?Why didn't you say something?”
    “I don't know. I mean...” The blonde woman exhaled. “It was his birthday, and his friends were expecting us. I didn't want to ruin the evening. Well, at least I didn't want to be the person responsible for a ruined evening.”
    “I can't believe you.”
    The third woman at the table with jet-black hair and pale skin abruptly stabbed her fork into her salmon fillet and laid the knife down next to her plate. She reached out and grabbed the bottle of Louis Roederer Cristál from the ice bucket and refilled her empty glass, accidentally overflowing the flute glass with bubbles.
    “I think he's cheating on me too,” the red-haired woman said.
    Curiously,the blonde one stopped twirling her hair and leaned forward. “Really? Why do think so?”
    “He's been acting strange lately. That and...” The curly redhead blinkedher long lashes while she looked afar, focusing her gaze at thewaiter two tables away.
    “And what?”
    The redhead shook her head and laid low. “Ever since I refused to play 'the game' with him. You know, like, that silly game he likes? Where he gets to... you know... play the predator.”
    “He's still into that?” the blonde grimaced, leaning her chin onto her hand.
    “Yeah,”the redhead sighed. “Two weeks ago he decided to use the ropes from his... bag of goodies.”
    Her blonde friend nodded seriously.
    “And you could imagine, that wasn't fun. I told him many times I'm not like that. I'm just... not into that.” The redhead moved closer to her friend and whispered something in her ear.
    Her blonde half-covered her face with a hand. “Oh, goodness...”
    “So I had to stop him.” The redhead moved away from her friend. “I told him that I will never want to do anything like that again.”She glanced at her black-haired friend for a second. “And he just looked so sad... He said I don't understand him. He looked rather ashamed and ran downstairs... and he raced off in his Porsche. And since then... we've been having lots of problems.”
    The black-haired woman sat quietly, staring into her plate. Her champagne glass still overflowed with bubbles.
    The blonde reached her hand out on the table. “I'm really sorry to hear that, Briar Rose.”
    Briar Rose brushed the back of her hand over her forehead. “I really don't know how to handle this, Cinderella.”
    Cinderella calmly looked at her.
    “He doesn't want to talk about it,” Briar Rose continued. “He refuses to go see a therapist together. He's never home anymore and I have no idea where he goes at night the past few days. It's true that there's a big merger thing going on at his company this week, but I can't help feeling that he's out probably with some woman who's into this...”
    “Wow,I really didn't think he's that kind of person,” Cinderella said.“Did you find anything suspicious?”
    “No,that's the thing. I guess I'm not as good as a detective, like you. I'm tempted to follow him one of these nights, but I really don't know if I should do it...”
    Cinderella shook her head. “I don't think it's a good idea to confront him unless you have something.”
    “True.”Briar Rose looked up. “What about you? Are you going to confront him?”
    Cinderella sighed. “I don't even know how to bring it up.” She pressed a button on her phone, mindlessly checking for messages.
    Just tell him you found some shoes in his golf bag.”
    “But that's just suspicious... why would ever look for stuff in there? I don't ever touch his golf bags.”
    Briar Rose exhaled, pushing the water glass away from her and leaned back in her chair.
    Cinderella looked toward the direction of the woman with the jet-black hair,almost teasingly. “I guess Mrs. Snow White here is the only one ofus without a cheating spouse.”
    The black-haired woman looked up, snapping out of her lunch hour day-dream. “Ahh...” she gaped at them, her ruby-red lips glistened.
    Almost as if she had forgotten something, Snow White shuffled her hand in her purse and dug out her cell phone. “I'm really sorry, guys...” She stared into her hand-held device. “I have to go pick up Danny.”
    “Oooh,”Briar Rose cooed. “How's Daniel doing?”
    “Wonderful,”Snow White smiled. “He's going to skip second grade this fall.”
    “Wow,I can't believe this little guy, he's so smart,” Cinderella said.“He's going to be an eight year old in third grade. Aren't you afraid of the big kids giving him trouble?”
    “Seven, actually.” Snow White corrected her. “He started first grade a year early.”
    “What a little brainiac!” Briar Rose exhaled in excitement. “I wish I had a boy as smart as yours.”
    Snow White squeezed out a smile while she pulled out several twenty dollar bills from her wallet and laid them on the table. “I gotta run... I'll see you girls at brunch on Sunday.”
    She stood up and gave them each a kiss on the cheek and ran off quickly in her white strappy sandals.
    “She's awfully quiet today.” Briar Rose watched Snow White rushing out of the doors before she turned around toward Cinderella.
    “Yeah,whatever,” Briar Rose said. She looked down on the table and picked up the bottle of champagne. “More Cristál?”
    Cinderella shrugged. “Sure, why not.”

             + + +

    The front door cracked open for her as Snow White brisked toward the entrance with her purse and a small suitcase. A woman with braided,floor-length blonde hair, greeted her.
    “Come on in.”
    “He's not here yet, is he?” Snow White asked, with a slight worried look on her face.
    “No, he'll be a little late.”
    “Whew...”Snow White exhaled. “Great. I should go get ready.”
    The other woman took her braid and played with it in her hands. “Do you need me to pick up Danny?”
    “Please.”Snow White handed over her car key. “I texted him already, so he knows it's you.”
    “Okay,I'll be back later.” She smiled as she took the key from Snow White.
    “Thanks, Rapunzel.”
    Snow White shut the front door behind her, leaving it unlocked, after watching her friend getting into the Range Rover.
    She walked past the carved cherry wood table with a tall vase filled with fresh white lilies in the foyer, carrying her suitcase up the grand spiral staircase. As she opened the door to a bright room, her sight was filled with a room with child-sized shabby chic furniture and lined with fluffy bubble-gum colored carpet. Images of playful kittens and colorful yarns painted the walls and lavender translucent curtains covered the windows. A shiny red apple sat on the dwarfed vanity table next to the mirror with a pink trash bin on the floor. Laying her hand-bag down by table, Snow White sat on the matching chair and unzipped her suitcase.
    She slipped off her white sun dress and kicked away her strappy sandals, revealing her crimson-painted toes. Reaching her hands behind her back, she unhooked her bra and dropped it on the floor, then she pulled down her underwear with her thumbs. Quickly, she dug out a pair of black thong and latex mini-skirt; she put them on swiftly. Hovering over her suitcase, she reached under the bottom and pulled out a black leather corset along with her black knee-high boots, with a heel five-inches high. Sucking in her stomach, she skillfully buckled the closures in the front on the already laced-up corset. Without wasting any time, she zipped up her shiny leather boots and sat down, cross-legged in front of the mirror to powder up her nose.
    She brushed her silky black tresses with a golden comb. Popping open her compact, she evenly applied makeup to her face followed by a heavy application of dark eye shadow and several coats of mascara. She took a bite out of the apple before she put on her lip-liner.
    Right before she finished putting on the bright red lipstick, her cellphone rang.
    “Yes,”she answered. Show White's voice had completely transformed. It was in a much deeper tone than when she was with her friends earlier.“Come on in,” she ordered as she ended the call.
    Snow White picked up a riding crop from her suitcase and stood in front of the mirror. She posed and admired herself for a moment before she sighed and walked down into the basement.

copyright 2012 Alice Constantine