What was it you said about revenge while we watched cadmium flames turn black-tile at midnight? That revenge is an unshouldered recoil, a fatal ricochet? No, the way Carrie got even at prom. When your shape didn’t collapse at my parting, when your silky silhouette didn’t slink into my empty indentation, I knew you wanted it more than you wanted me. You see, Carrie never got revenge, she never sought it. An internalizing of pressure, an accumulation of lint igniting into a conflagration isn’t intentionality but inevitability.

But what of those trapped in the gym? I’ve told you standby isn’t an action position, that ignorance isn’t an excuse. But that wasn’t their intent. She overreacted, like you. Your intentions become meaningless the moment your consequence phalanxes trample my knee-bruised topography, when your hiding wall fails to damn the siege of righteousness careening through you. Accountability is a gift so rarely grasped by women. Is that what sours you so?

Tell me, what comes after revenge for Carrie? Running bloodied down darkened streets screaming? A woman is marked as suspect before she is painted as one, her scarlet skin always crazed, angry, bitter, never logical, level, righteous, just, or justified. You seem to confuse revenge and reflex as much as you conflate listening with interest, learned kindness with flirtation, forgiveness with giving in.

And what of those trapped in the gym, the accountable held by the only doors that magically close to them? What of you? Would you have put intent aside and offered help instead of the standing shock-jaw stare that left me shamed? You blame me for leaving but had I braved the starched cloth and feathered bang, the tinsel-lit slow dance, for you, I too would have eaten the pressure, collected the lint, collapsed the suffocating sanctuary to end it. I would be marked the scarlet screamer, the crazed car flipper, and you would stare anywhere but at my hurt. Your dreams for revenge could never hold my dreams for you, for us. I’ll always be Carrie, and you’ll always be the blood bucket, full of wasted intentions.