she was all curls falling over shoulders and small hands and slender ankles, but she was also all crooked toes and cheek moles and half-baked smiles. she wore skinny jeans too long and too big on her and she always wore a jacket because she was always cold. and he thought that she was pretty beautiful the first time he saw her in a parade, sitting on top of a dodge truck and waving with both hands so that no one was left out. she was the kind of pretty beautiful that only came around when he said something stupid and she shook her head at him, trying to hide her teeth but failing miserably.
she wore glasses but only when she was doing work or when she had a headache because she thought that her eyes looked too wide in them and all she ever wanted in life was to be people magazine's definition of pretty—which she wasn't (but don't tell her that.) she drank tea on sleepless nights, sitting on her porch and stargazing; she thought that maybe she was born a philosopher but her heart always got in the way of rational thinking. and he would find her slumped in the grass of the backyard, sobbing and thrashing and asking the skies why pluto wasn't good enough to be a planet and why she wasn't good enough to be america's next top model. he would hold her and rock her back and forth, like mother and child, before she would drift off into a hapless sleep, finally.
they exchanged secrets in the dark, underneath the covers of her bed, when her feet were the coldest.
so she's got issues with being real, he finally realized. she doesn't know who she is or where she's going, but he was damn well going with her.
the struggle inside her always tormented him just as much as it teased her. he watched as she zipped up her black dress, slid on her black heels, and turned to him. when he asked where she was going, she told him she was going to her funeral. and so he pulled her little black gloves over her hands and grasped them between his, looking down at her. he wondered when her brown irises had gotten so dark, and he took her by the arm and showed her out the door and into the car.
where they were going, he wasn't quite sure, but they were going. she had hundreds stuffed in the left cup of her bra and tissues in the right. there was a handgun strapped to the garter on her thigh. she cried all her mascara off before the car ride was over, and when he had brought her back home, she collapsed on the street, crying.
i don't want to live, i don't want to live, she chanted over and over. he wondered if maybe he should have done something other than picking her up and shushing her, then leaving her to rest in bed. he wondered if maybe he should have taken that gun from her, cocked it, and shot her right there in the middle of the sidewalk. he wondered if that would have made her happy, because anything and everything he did was to make her happy. she was his world, but he was only her security papers.
she overdosed on pain pills that she had found in the back of her medicine cabinet that night and didn't wake up until the sunrise of the second day. he wondered about shooting himself to kill the pain.
a year after that, she cut her hair off.
and she continued to struggle her way through deciding if she was the lie she had created or the truth that god had.
it only took him six months after that to realize things were a cycle, an uroboros, and that she was never ending. it took him six months to get out and buy a plane ticket to visit mary, queen of scots. his mother's birthplace. he thought that maybe he could find himself there, (or maybe he could even find her.)
and it took him another year to realize that love without the second person is not even love, and it only took him two days after to purchase tickets back.
he was too late—the only funeral she had was the one she had given herself: (it was as if she knew.)