Marilyn Monroe at 97 by Linda Ferguson

What a night.

Diamonds, I tell you, were not a girl’s best friend, now or then.

Fourteen bottles of white pills on my nightstand.

And another one: blue, like the ribbon in my brown hair. The one I wore when they dragged me to the orphanage.

That last night in 1962. I was unsheathed.

Literally. My sleeveless apple green dress on the floor. Hair unwashed, uncombed, not whipped cream but feathers beaten by a dirty breeze. The first time you bleach it you don’t imagine this: the way it keeps breaking like a shattered champagne glass.

My tongue thick and useless; a whale’s carcass on the sand. Two short words—I can’t—drawn out into a lifetime of stories about money and men.

The doctor, on the phone, did all the talking.

Go outside, get some fresh air, he said.

I almost hung up on him right then. But my hand, so heavy.

What made me do it?

Maybe I was too full to sip or swallow even one more thing. Or maybe I just wanted to feel the wind wash my face clean one last time.

Somehow I dragged myself off the bed, then outside and onto the beach. The seagulls opened their beaks wide and tore the fog with their screams.

And here I am.

Image credit: Andrzej Dragan

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