Girl, Dead

Some girl I went to school with died. We weren’t friends, as such, and yet we rubbed shoulders year after year for the best years of our lives. Mine certainly. She had an infectious smile. A childish smirk that stayed with her well into adulthood. To die in your thirties is no time to die at all. She had kids. Many kids. Kids that are older now than when we occupied a measure of time and space in each other’s lives. She is no longer, and yet I remain. Somehow, this isn’t the gift it should be, for she is timeless, while I am doomed to continue my inevitable decline. As she exists in a perfect state neither here nor there, bits and pieces of my body go wrong, and my state of being erodes. In my mind, and the minds of others, she has become mythical—a spirit that dances upon the moors with the ghosts of Cathy and Heathcliff. The only thing I dance with are the sticky fingers of another hangover. Carrier bags down windy streets. Bedsheets that cling to my feverish body as I kick and scream in my sleep. If I close my eyes, I can see her eyes—eyes I absentmindedly gazed at so many times chewing on a rubber-tipped pencil as the teacher drew pie charts on the chalkboard detailing things I had no interest in. She wore pigtails, as girls of that age so often did. I have a few class portraits. She sits there, giggling. I’m looking confused at something over the photographer’s shoulder. Even now, after so many years, I can recall the names of nearly every kid. Surnames, too. Some I see on social media. Most are like comets circling the outer reaches of my memory. Like me, they live their lives knowing that with every breath they take, the end reaches out to greet them. In my mind, though, they stay forever young—forever untouched. I, however, do not. Perhaps it’s better to exist in the eyes of another than it is to exist in and within oneself—to exist outside of oneself makes it easier, somehow. Perhaps, this is why so many wish to live inside the lens of a camera, or the alcoholic bubble of a drunken stupor. Anything other than this.

X and I: A Novel and A Journal for Damned Lovers on Amazon UK

X and I: A Novel and A Journal for Damned Lovers on Amazon US

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