Authors: Nancy Beaudet
I watch the door of my car open all by itself.
What the hell?
I turn around, keys still in hand. I was sure that I left both front windows rolled down but they’re closed tightly now.
Again, what the hell?
“Is that you Pretty Girl?” I stiffen where I stand, I drop my arms to my sides and I suddenly feel cold. Sunshine is flaming against the front of my townhouse, but I can barely feel it at all.
I feel dead, alone, but angry most of all.
I’ve never been one to believe in ghosts.
I’m desperate now. I’m a fucking fool. I have been for a while now; I want the pain I feel to explode.
I want the entire world to know to how I feel. I want everyone to feel like they loved and they lost you. I want everyone to feel the pain that I feel now. I want everyone in the world to pay because I lost you. I have no one to blame but myself and that just isn’t cool.
I want to blame you. Why are you not here for me to do so?
I want to join you. I turn around, inserting myself into the shadows. It didn’t take me long to drive home. I raced myself most of the way, pressing the gas pedal down with my hands clutching at my steering wheel. I always remained at ten and two.
I had always been responsible but carefully not careful; I did not want to be bored with my world. I was never bored with you.
Did you understand that Flo? I mean, did it really sneak its way into your stubborn fucking skull? I doubt that it did somehow. I need to go to bed and chill out. I need my thoughts to stop freaking me the hell out. I don’t care how it looks to anybody else.
I miss you. I stumble up my front steps, keeping my heads down on the cement. I feel drunk with death.
The complex where I live is almost always quiet. I know that any of the real partiers can’t afford to pay the skyrocketing rent. It’s ridiculous.
I pretty much pay $1100 a month to live in a one-bedroom townhouse without heat or any soundproofing.
The foundation is cracked; anyone could plainly see that. The cream coloured panelling wasn’t done recently but the living room is pretty big. It has a step up into the kitchen that I trip on almost daily. But alas, it’s a better alternative than living with my parents.
That is also beyond obvious. Two drunk idiots with money to burn and oh they are so willing to waste it. My mom is just too chicken shit to light the match. So she leaves that to my dad.
I unlock my front door and head in. The front door is solid. It would be seriously hard for anybody to break in without ending up bruised and broken. I think that’s what I used to like so much about it. I felt safe in my prison. That’s what this is. It isn’t a home. It isn’t my safe haven. This place is a hollow fortress.
I’ve never dusted.
I don’t give a shit about appearance. Not anymore, I guess. I used to be that kind of prick. I was always showing off the latest threads if you want to call them that. I called them new shirts and new pants.
I liked attention. I have always liked it; I have always craved it but for all of the wrong reasons. I didn’t care to be noticed. I cared to be hated. I liked when people were jealous. I liked when you were pissed off at my existence.
My front door enters into my living room, the dark hardwood floors creak with my entrance. I stand by my empty coffee table, looking in on my kitchen. The walls are painted a deep forest green. The floorboards dark hardwood. The kitchen counters a cool granite. I run my hand along the edge of it.
My brown couch is leather and I have a black leather lazy boy recliner. A flat screen television sits as the centre, though I haven’t watched TV in forever. The news is just a depression shit-storm. Cartoons don’t do it for me anymore.
I actually caught myself watching that mother and daughter drama you loved so much. It was delightfully intriguing. Or you know, it was good and whatever.
I pull of my shirt and toss it towards my washer and dryer. I’ll take care of that mess later.
I almost lose my shit when Mal starts taking off his clothes.
I know that makes me sound like some sort of brain-dead, sorority girl on a
special. I’m not that girl though.
His body is a wonderland I want to make my home. He radiates warmth and love and everything that I have never really known. He makes me whole.
“You told me I was special and smart and beautiful. You told me everything that I ever wanted to hear and more so. You say you want to die and join me the underworld? That’s not possible.” I walk slow, carefully circling Mal.
I try desperately to keep my eyes away from his but it is a feat that proves to next to impossible. How is he so beautiful?
His shoulders curve with muscles that I didn’t even know he had until right now. His stomach is hard as a brick wall; even from all the way across the room I can tell. Mal is tall, almost six-foot-two. His waist is narrow, a happily trail disappearing past his navel. A line of dark hair points down, making me feel like some super turned on, dead weirdo.
We never got the chance to truly see each other up close and personal. We always moved slowly and yet I felt as if were speeding up a dead end hill. There was no escape with Mal.
“I love you, Mal. I have always loved you. I fell in love with you when I was 12 years old. You were so cool and strong and built and I loved you. I could not even comprehend how much I loved you. The intensity of it made me ill. I couldn’t go to school; I didn’t want too. I didn’t want to see you, I couldn’t look at pictures of you and I couldn’t hear about you. I couldn’t listen to you or be in the same room with you without wanting to kill myself.”
This is the ugly truth.
“Loving you made me hate you, it made me hate myself. Falling in love with you made me mean and it made me cruel. I stopped being merciful with people who had never deserved evil.” I stand in front of Mal, if he could see me right now, or feel me at all, we would be nose to nose.
I stand on my tip toes.
“I love you, you stupid, selfish, brain-dead, douche canoe. I one-hundred-percent unequivocally love you. There is only one thing in this world that I still know to be true and that’s that I can’t live without you. I won’t, it’s just not fucking possible. It would be cruel.”
Would it though?
I deserve this hell. I resist the urge to slap Mal. This is not his fault.
“What’s going on with you? Why are you so intent on being the biggest asshole possible?” I stop, looking down. “Sorry, that was a little rude.” I amend myself, watching as Mal circles the room. He’s searching for something invisible.
“I don’t know why I’m apologizing. It’s not like you can hear me anyhow. Hey wait, what are you doing to your cell phone? That was the last good picture of us —NO! DON’T THROW IT AT THE WALL!”
Pieces of plastic and glass hit the ground. It’s broken and useless now.
“Oh I am so going to kill you.”
I toss my phone at the wall. I can’t stand my ringtone. Did you forget that it was just a recording of you?
Saying hello? You were doing this stupid impression of that dirty parrot that they used to show off downtown.
Hello? Hello? How do you do? Can I help you? Hello? Baby wants to kiss you.
I hate the sound now.
I hate the memory of your voice because I know that my memory wouldn’t do you right at all. I hate thinking about you or seeing you and yet I live for those nightmares that leave me screaming at my bedroom walls. I hate you and I miss you. I love you. I don’t know how to do both.
“I am so going to kill you!” someone echoes. For a brief second it sounds like you Pretty Girl but we all know that that isn’t possible, my townhouse is tightly closed. I don’t trust my neighbours enough to leave my windows open when I’m not home, but we both know that the walls are far from soundproof.
It could have been anyone.
Perhaps that Sawyer girl next door finally kicked her loser boyfriend out the front door. If so, I should make popcorn and go sit on my porch. Yes, I am that kind of neighbour. There are girls all over Three Hill, I’ve kissed half of them but I failed to tell any of them the truth. I know now that none of them are you, and none of them will ever look at me like you do. Did, not do. I hate having to remind myself of the fact that you’re not coming home. Like ever, at all. I don’t want to blame you, but right now I will. You should have let me save you.
I knew how to save you; you know?
“Did you know how to save me? Like really dude? I’m calling bullshit all over you. What were you going to go? Stand at the bottom of Buffalo Falls with your beautiful arms held wide out?”
I cross my arms, yelling loud.
I want your neighbors to complain about you. I want you to get kicked out of this tomb you call home.
You should have never moved out of your parents’ house. They may not be the best parents in the word, God knows every trophy they ever made you win, they wanted just for themselves.
Still, I know that they loved you, deep down. I know that they still do.
“You should go home, being here? It’s not good for you. It’s not healthy to live alone and wallow. This isn’t that mother and daughter show you were talking about, although that was one of my favourite episodes.” I’m rambling now.
“Do you remember that time we stayed up watching late-night talk shows? We ordered in Chinese food and sat on my parents’ couch. My parents trusted you enough to leave us alone. I don’t know how to tell you the truth; your reputation is no secret in this town.”
I want to sit down.
“You said that the best Chinese food was served at the mall, yeah that was probably true. We should have eaten in the food court like normal people. We could have eavesdropped on all of those old people. I never could figure out why all the old people in Three Hill like to hang out at the mall, why not go to
? They have a breakfast-all-day kind of menu.”
Mal starts to pace and the hardwood floor creaks with his every move, my own footsteps are hallowing.
“I want to die, Flo,” you whisper to yourself, head hung low. Your beautiful glowing eyes are closed.
“No.” I don’t want you to continue as if you never heard me at all, but I know that you will anyhow. And you do.
“It hurts when I swallow and it hurts when I breathe in and it hurts to breathe out. My stomach is aching, I can’t feel my own muscles move, and my entire body is full of pins and needles. I don’t feel real.”
“What?” your words make me stumble.
“How do you not feel real? Are you ill? Oh no, no no no. This is not allowed; this will not do. I won’t let you do this Mal, I would say not over my dead body but that phrase is a little tired out, and also, way too literal for what we’re going through right now.”
You ignore me. I want to strangle you.
“I jumped off of a fucking cliff Mal, did you not see the nightly news report? Death is not beautiful! It does not solve your problems and it does not take you where you want to do. Go ahead, do your research Mal. What about Google™. Did you do an image search? Check it out. As soon as the news broke everyone in our tiny world knew that there was no saving Flo.
The fall didn’t kill me though; it was the sharp rocks on the way down. I think I may have
succeeded in poking an eye out. Isn’t that what the adults always warned us about?”
Don’t run with scissors Flo. You’ll poke an eye out.
“I wasn’t dead yet when I hit the bottom. I was unconscious and bleeding to death with a good half of my skull gone, but I still had a pulse. The paramedics checked. The firemen. They told everyone that my death was quick when it was, in fact, slow, that it was painless when it was, in fact, pain
. That’s what kindness gets you.”
Bull and more bull.
I could see it in their eyes though. They felt horrible. A young girl decides to off herself and of course she regrets it before she even gets halfway down the hill. They had to make my parents comfortable.
I get it. I do.
My parents needed to chill. Now when they look at my old photos, I think they see some angel. As if I jumped and flew into the heavens when in reality I jumped face first into awfulness. It wasn’t romantic or epic. I didn’t enjoy any of it.
Mal looks up and I feel my dead heart stall, his green eyes are abnormally small. His hands are balled into fists, and he’s clutching an old pillow.
Oh God no.
He’s crying. Mal, tough, hot Mal is crying into a pillow, and I don’t know what to do. My entire being just gives out. I can’t explain how I fall I just do. My knees hit the ground, and suddenly I can’t breathe in or out. I guess I don’t need to breathe but still. Fuck.
I can’t watch this boy be in pain right now. I can’t. His pain is not allowed because it simply makes me hate myself more than I already do. I feel guilt. Blame. I feel like a moron. A tool. None of that compares to the emotions that flood my chest when Mal jumps off of the couch as I crumble towards the hard ground. His voice is catching when he says one word that ruins it all.
“Flo?” his voice echoes.
I would give anything to be alive right now.
I feel like I’m rocking back in forth, in the fetal position on the floor while I’m standing perfectly still. Forcefully breathing in and out when Mal looks to the space where I have cowered up down and around. His green eyes are huge. Wet with fresh dew.
Oh hell no.
My real name is Ruth. Mal started calling me Flo because everything out of my mouth was like something he'd heard in a rap video. I almost shot chocolate milk out of my nose when he told me that though. It made no sense then, and it makes no sense now. We were twelve, and we've been friends since grade two. So different from how we are now.
I force myself to stand across from him in his living room. Mal. My buddy. My pal. Wouldn't it be cool if you could see me right now?