I had seen her before, and very often too; she was so beautiful back then… I wondered what went wrong with her over time. We used to be friends, Shadow and I. She was quite possessive of me. We used to spend hours together, locked in a room; she would tell me of things and I would listen, then I would speak, but she would hush me… She was the talkative one, of course. It has been a while since she had last visited me, and now when I saw her sitting on my bed holding in her hand an old photograph of the two of us together, I couldn’t help but pity her.
Her fair skin was ash grey and her luscious and thick locks were reduced to the likes of the weak strands of a broken rope. I took the photograph from her hands that once held welcoming warmth but were now ice cold. I looked at her; she averted her eyes from me, they were brimming with tears. I sat across her on the floor and looked at the photograph.
I was in my teens then, maybe 16 or 17 years old. She was the same age. I stood under a street lamp; the picture was clicked by a friend in the holiday time. It was one of the many pictures where Shadow stood next to me like she used to, and made me feel ‘not-so-alone’. Her arm was around my neck and we stood really close, as though we were one. It was our first photo together.
I looked back at her now, and observed her for a while. She was never so quiet. She always talked to me, speaking of the far-away land she came from and how beautiful it was there. She told me of the ways to get there and promised me I’d be loved there. I tried so often to go along with her, just run away from all the people I knew, but each time someone intervened and stopped me. They scolded me and some tried explaining why leaving for the far-away land wasn’t good, all while she stood in the corner of the room, waiting to comfort me once they left. Everyone conveniently ignored her, as though she was invisible.
I looked now, at her hands. Her fresh skin had dried up and scaled. The scars on her hands were fresh and the every now and then a drop of blood would ooze out from between the clots that were just starting to form. She was a princess in her far-away kingdom, but she chose to stay with me and love me for what had become of me over the years. I accepted her friendship, but she wasn’t content. She would often walk in on me when I showered and admire my body – her possession.
She told me she loved my curves, scars and all, but her favourite were my breasts. She wanted to love me. I didn’t love her as such, but she was the closest I had to friend or lover, so I let her love me. I sat motionless as she kissed me one night, her palms pressed against my chest, and it was as though I had tasted a piece of heaven. It was too strong a feeling for me to feel again and I was more than glad when Gary had walked in on us.
He came quickly to tear us apart and help me breathe. He sat with me all night after, and spoke to me of what Shadow had been doing so far to me. It didn’t sound as pleasant as it felt and I looked at her, standing in the dark corner of the room. She was crying, guilty red elixir pouring out of her eyes, onto her face, and staining the carpet below. That was the last time I had seen her.
Coming back to the present, I saw the familiar tears of blood and hushed her. We had a lot of catching up to do, but this time I did the talking. I told her how Gary took care of me after she left and how, after a few years we started dating and had a baby boy before we finally got married and settled down together. She just nodded. Later, she stood up, and without saying a word, walked out of the door. She seemed like she couldn’t bear her own weight anymore. She was slouching and almost dragging her feet in order to move.
Although she hasn’t come back to me since, I still feel her around, like when I walk under the trees alone at night; I know she is hiding in one of them, looking down at me from beneath the branches, following me one step at a time. I see her in my dreams too, but she doesn’t speak anymore. She isn’t the voice in my head and she doesn’t speak of the far-away land anymore, although I know she will keep her promise of taking me with her one day.
She will come down in my bedroom and lock the doors shut before she continues where she had left last. She will be as radiant as ever, and so charming; she will straddle me and kiss me again, her palms will press against my chest and she will come closer, lifting up my shirt and with it parts of me that I have long forgotten. She will love me and as she comes down and kisses my heart, it will turn calm and when I am at peace, we will travel together to the far-away land.