Shadow Of A Memory

She wakes up drenched in sweat and drowning in the thoughts of events passed. ‘Another nightmare baby?’ her boyfriend asks. ‘Yeah, it was just a dream though, I’ll be fine’ she replies. He’s going to go back to sleep without a care in the world. She, on the other hand, is done sleeping for the night. She gets out of bed and makes her way towards the bedroom window to sit and smoke. Half her body hangs loosely on the partition between their room and the fire escape. After finishing her cigarette she goes to pour herself a drink. A glass full of vodka should do it. She takes a look around their flat, at all her half-finished paintings. She sees the pain hidden behind the bright colors and wishful thinking. ‘These are beautiful’ she remembers her friends saying. They don’t see the demons at play in the background. She takes her glass of vodka to the fire escape window and lights another cigarette. She looks down at the city with a glimmer of pride before she realizes that everything her mother told her has come to be. She has been defeated by this mammoth of a town. She looks down at the floor, four stories below. Her heart starts to race. ‘The reason we fear being on a ledge is because we fear we’ll jump off it’. Thoughts inspired by a movie about banking that she barely remembers. That line stands out to her because it had never dawned on her how true it actually was till she found herself at a friend’s birthday celebration, having a stare down with the spiked fencing a couple floors below her feet.

 

She sits in the fire escape window, sipping on her vodka and feeling the rush from the concoction of nicotine and alcohol entering her circulatory system. ‘We poison ourselves to forget we’re meant to die’ is written on the inside of her left bicep. She waits in silence for her world to wake from its slumber, to help her forget just how lonely she is. As she sits there she remembers what woke her. She remembers the dream. Only it’s less of a dream and more of a memory. She remembers how his fingers felt on her face. She remembers how the sweet nothings he whispered seemed to drown out her cries. She remembers how his hot breath felt on her neck. She touches her shoulder remembering how his hand dug into her skin and touched her bones. She remembers how he felt inside her, like an extraterrestrial trying to take over her body. She remembers how guilty she felt afterward. He was her teacher after all so maybe she was in the wrong. She remembers how her father told her she deserved it for dressing the way that she did. She remembers how the girls sneered at her as she walked by after they found out, how they called her a slut with so much anger in their voices. ‘He was our favorite teacher, how could she do that to him?’ she remembers them saying. But she was but a child, how was she meant to fight him off? She remembers how the boys said she probably liked it and how that hurt her. She remembers all this so she can’t seem to remember how happiness feels like.

 

She’s moved on now. New city, new friends, new perspective on life but still the same memories. She looks at him, peacefully sleeping. His sadness has bounds and he has a good heart but she can’t bring herself to tell him about the demons that plague her psyche. She doesn’t want him to pity her. She doesn’t want him to feel trapped by her. He tells her all about his issues with his mother, but she can’t share her soul because she doesn’t want to feel entrapped by him. Tears trickle down her beautiful brown cheeks. Smoke enters her wonderfully curly hair. She sits in the window of the fire escape crying; silently crying. She doesn’t want to disturb his peace. No, not for her. Not for the girl that no one seems to love. ‘But he does’ she thinks. ‘No, he thinks he does and that’s good enough for me’ she thinks again. He doesn’t know that she refuses to finish her paintings because every brush stroke reminds her of her pain. But she has to paint to get some of it out; not all though. She’s grown to love her heartache as it has become the only real emotion she has ever known. Depression her only friend.

 

She sits there in silence. The tears have left their traces on her face, marking her with memories of her past. The sun begins to rise and she notices that she’s finished all her cigarettes. Her vodka glass is a shot and a half away from seeing the same fate so she downs it. She watches as the horizon gives birth to a new day. The brightly colored sunrise, dancing on her face. A cool gust of wind kisses her tear stained cheeks. ‘And this will be a beautiful day’ she says. He’s still asleep but she walks over to her side of the bed and applies her favorite brightly colored lipstick on. She gives him a kiss on the cheek and whispers ‘Forget me’ into his ear. He slowly wakes and leaves post sleep deliria to enter the confusion of trying to figure out what she said and why. He sees her walk over to the fire escape window. She looks back at him with a smile. He stares on in lust. She walks out onto the fire escape and walks off it.

 

He’s alone.