The question had an inevitable answer. It was instinctual.
Men prefer blondes. Maybe it’s the whiff of peroxide that makes their ears perk and sniff the air. Like babies that fall asleep to heartbeats, men follow the rhythm of her hips when she walks. Hollywood follows not far from behind.
Hollywood scares Norma.
She is in disguise – or rather, out of disguise. The woman Hollywood drools over is non existent, she’s a fake out, she’s an imposter – The woman who carries Marilyn on her shoulder is Norma.
Norma is being haunted. She’s being haunted by something much more sinister than herself, bigger and darker. Once upon a time it was a hole in her chest, one that made her feel hollow, hungry, powerless. Now it takes the form of Hollywood. She was no songbird, not much to look at, but maybe it was that shattered quality that followed her through life was what drew the cameras.
Norma shed her skin and became Marilyn, the woman with a name that rolls off the tongue like cigarette smoke. Norma exposes the sheen of her bones and the hypnotic contrast of blood on flab to call Hollywood to her heels. Hollywood likes to bite and that’s what terrifies her. Marilyn isn’t afraid at all, and that’s the point.
Marilyn follows Norma around. She looms over her, hides in the closet like a bogeyman. She possesses her body and turns her into something immaterial, “romantic”, sultry. Tap, tap, tap, her heels blend in with the sound of the city that never sleeps. Norma’s steps are even, paced. Marilyn floats behind her.
Norma can’t figure out if Marilyn is meant to protect her from Hollywood, or if she uses Norma as bait. Norma, Marilyn, and Hollywood are in a fighting ring. Is Marilyn the referee, the coach, or a third opponent? Norma never knows.
“Do you want to see me become her?”Continue reading “Norma”