Authors: Nancy Beaudet
It’s like having your soul ripped out. The most important part of you just simply removed, over and out. Your body has been left with a gaping hole, and you have no idea what in the hell to do. It feels terrible.
I can’t go on without you Pretty Girl.
I won’t. It’s just not fucking possible; it would be cruel. I have no idea how to breathe without you. My chest is heavy, and my heart is full. This weight in my lungs is one that I can’t get used to.
I could scream, but I feel as if I won’t make a sound. I feel as if I am buried underground, on fire in the pits of hell and yet frozen to the bone. Even if I could be heard, I don’t think that it would truly matter anyhow. My voice is meaningless sound. No one is listening right now.
It’s not like I’ve always had a never ending list of people that I can talk to, I only ever had you. Only ever you.
As an asshole who also happens to be a twenty-one-year-old dude, the friends I make are far and few. I never trusted anyone but you. Not really anyhow. Not deep down. I don’t know how to trust people.
When I open my mouth, my secrets don’t just spill out. That only happened when I was talking to you.
You had this way of looking at me, even when looking at you made me want to pull my teeth out. You just looked at me and I knew, no matter what I told you. I knew that you would never bolt.
You would never leave me alone.
You left me alone now.
The gravestone that your mother picked out does nothing for you. It’s simple grey stone. Your name is carved out along with a bunch of words and some touching quote. Flowers and mementos litter the freshly green ground, small hand-held teddy bears wearing pink tutus. I know that if you were around still, you would throw it all out.
I don’t care to look at any of it right now.
I think that fancier people would call the stone marble. I won’t. I spend my Saturday nights alone eating fast food and reading spy novels. I’m not a fancy kind of dude.
The peace garden that has become your home still gives me the chills, even though the September sun is warm as it beats down. I urge the green grass to turn brown. Everything else has started to. It’s all sorts of beautiful out right now. Our hot summer is turning into a breezy fall.
Everything around me is framed in orange-gold, the trees are crisp and turning dead and cold. They stand lean and tall hundreds of yards from where I crouch down. The breath I breathe is ice cold.
The sun is making me sway a little. It rained all night.
I can tell. When I woke up there were water remnants on my windshield. I parked my Camaro™ and walked to your headstone.
I didn’t even think that leaving you here to decompose was legal, no one in town made a big deal out of it, though.
This is not a graveyard.
This is a public place, perfect for an evening stroll. A peace garden if you will. I’m pretty sure that that is what it is officially called. There’s a huge metal sign hanging above the parking lot. It curves and the letters are dead and beautiful, burned out of black metal.
You are all alone.
I wanted to say something to the people who buried you, like why not just leave her behind a funeral home? It’s probably just as illegal.
What about the buffet downtown? They have nice dumpsters, big and small. All in a row.
Leaving you there would be just as tasteless and cruel, if not more so. But I kept my hand over my mouth because there was no use in upsetting your parents, as they had already been dealt a fatal blow the moment that they lost you.
I’m still shocked at the selfishness of you.
I look around, wiping tears away from my nose. How long have you officially been gone now? A month, or is it two?
I have almost completely lost the ability to count.
I dread the day that I will need my fingers and toes to figure out how long it’s been since you left town.
The days blurred together, weeks became meaningless and the minutes and seconds became meaningful. I numbed myself. I needed to.
I’ve lived in the same small, shitty town since I was in preschool. I was born here after being conceived in a crappy hotel and I will someday be buried in the cold, wet ground that surrounds me now. I refuse to rest in peace away from you.
Perhaps that day will be soon?
Yeah, that would be so cool.
Everyone wants out of Three Hill. To an outsider it all looks beautiful. To someone not in the know.
There is only one way in and one way out, trees line every road and every road leads back downtown. Every building and every house was built over a century ago. Every shop is built out of red brick with apartments overhead that mostly remain unused. They are almost all identical.
They all look out onto streets of gleeful, glowing people. Liars who are only visible through large bay windows. I hate this town. I hate these people. I only liked you.
I starting calling you Flo because when I looked at you I didn’t see a girl named Ruth. I saw someone beautiful. I saw someone cruel and unusual and someone who would happily steal everything that I had come to know.
I wipe my palms off on my sweat pants. I’m clammy and uncomfortable. I’m not dressed for the weather at all. My yellow jersey is just something I found inside of my couch. It’s sleeveless and could stand to be washed a time or two. I’m wearing socks with sandals.
My black hair is slicked back with grease, not hair gel. I did try to spike it up a little, though. Just for you. I haven’t showered in a while. I’m pretty sure that I’m starting to smell.
I look down at you and force a smile. I wonder what on earth you would be doing right now. You were only nineteen years old.
Now you are immortal.
I guess dying young will do that you.
I can’t even look at pictures of you now, doing so makes me feel ill. I retreat from every inch of proof that you were real and yet I cling to it with everything that I know.
I sit down, dropping my ass against the damp ground. I rest my forearms on my knees and rock back on my heels, glancing around.
Since it’s early there aren’t a lot of people hanging around, but there are a few. Just no massive crowds. The park isn’t within walking distance of the college but it does sit as the backyard of a fish and chips restaurant and a
dollar store. A strip mall where homeless people like to hang out, this is one of the seedier parts of town, even though we’re on the outskirts of Three Hill, nearest to highway and far from downtown.
I wanted better for you.
I wanted more for you.
I pick at a scab on my left knuckle, looking over at the lake and the boats that have been tied against the dock.
No one is on the beach, but there are a few people on the walking trails. There are women in halter tops with sports bras plainly visible, yoga pants that leave nothing to the imagination at all. They’re begging for attention only to complain about being ogled.
I already told you I was an asshole. You have no reason for being surprised now. I drop my back against the ground, stretching my arms and legs out. I make an imaginary snow angel when there isn’t any wonderful snow. Looking up at the pretty blue sky, watching white clouds move. I know that they are probably not really moving at all but my eyes are playing tricks on me and I enjoy the show. I haven’t been sleeping well. I haven’t been sleeping at all. I’m worn out.
I’m surprised that I can still cry at all, I thought that I had completely run out of things to feel. Anger and denial.
I keep waiting for depression to follow. I think we’ve already become acquainted though. Depression and your good old buddy, old pal. I don’t know. Maybe that is also denial. What happened to you? Why did you decide to go? Why didn’t you text? Why didn’t you call?
I fucking hate you some days Flo, and I don’t even care if you can hear me right now. I don’t care if my thoughts hurt you. You deserve to know how you made me feel. You deserve to be miserable, too.
I hear my name being called; it isn’t enough to pull me out of my own dreary clouds. I can only blink, listening to the call as it echoes. Annoyance fuelling the speaker well.
I don’t sit up or look around. A heavy breathing mammal appears next to my left elbow. It blocks the sun and leaves me in someone else’s sweaty shadow, souring my mood even more, somehow. As if that was even possible. Doubtful.
I look up and get grossed out. Yeah, I’m a dick hole. The mountain smells like body odour and dick cheese rolled into a buffet. A buffet that’s quickly running out of tables, the damp floor coated in mould and puke.
“Can I help you?” I mumble, lifting up my arm to shadow my face from the smell.
“You okay dude? You’ve been down there for a while.” A voice carries straight down; the mammal has its elbows propped out. Hands on his hips. Legs widely spread. He’s wearing gym shorts.
I can see directly up the gap of fabric making up his leg holes. I could probably see his tiny little dick if I concentrated, which I’m not about do since I’m not into men like that. Although, it would make for a pretty hilarious six second video for the internet.
“I’m fine. Thank you.” My words are quipped, neutral.
“Are you sure?” The voice becomes quizzical.
I laugh out loud, causing the mountain of shadow to sigh and scowl. “Fuck off.” I mumble to myself. The shadow doesn’t move.
“Come on dude. It’s me, Michael. You remember don’t you? We used to hang out a little in school.”
“This look isn’t good for you.”
Michael? Who the hell is Michael? Since my brain is already scrambled, I have to squint to see through all the hoarded shadows. I’ve known a lot of random dudes and wow, I just realized how awful that sounds. I am not a male hooker, just so you know.
I was enrolled in a lot sports when I was little, so I always had a friend hanging around my house. I played hockey well, I liked skating and body checking the other team. Which is probably why I got more penalties than anybody thought possible.
Oh yeah, I remember now. I met Michael in high school. He was a nice, big dude with a generous smile and long hairy legs that are almost touching my face now. He had kind blue eyes and a big, bushy beard if I remember correctly. The girls in high school all thought he was wonderful, he stood up for anyone who couldn’t stand up for themselves. I personally always wondered if he was truly full of bull. No one is ever truly nice without something to gain.
I don’t open my eyes against to the sun to see if I’m still correct on my assumption of what his face looks like now. I assume he is identical to what he looked like in high school.
“I’m not bothering you and if you don’t like my look, I suggest you move on from gawking at the horror show. This is a public park but this isn’t a public gravestone. I’m having alone time with my girl. Now move along asshole, no one asked you.”
I only open my eyes enough to peer over at the standing mountain of so-called nice dude. “Fuck off, dude.” Again I grumble, wishing that I could feel some sort of relief when Michael finally does as told, sighing to himself and muttering something pitiful.
I can’t feel anything now, though. Can you? Can you even hear me at all? Where are you now? I know that you never believed in heaven and hell.
You were such a rebel child. Wild but always in control. You knew when someone was wrong without me ever having to tell you. You knew when not to trust people, and when to hold a helping hand out. You knew when someone else needed you. Only you, and no one else.
You knew when I was angry and when I wanted to be still and peaceful. You knew when I wanted to run for the moon. I wanted to run with you. I try to be invisible, and I eat everything with plastic utensils. I prefer to be wasteful. Leaving my gross and disgusting mark on the world, I learned the opposite of that from you.
I hate talking to people. I hate having to make small talk or pretending to be happy when I’m actually quite miserable.
I’ve been a straight fuck up since you’ve been gone. You’re the dead one and yet it is my body has been left to rot. I am a missing person that the world forgot. Time moves on. I do not.