It has been a year since.
I heard the news from her brother when it happened, and it haunted me the days after. It was a cold November evening as I took it all in. My phone fell from my fingertips when I heard his electronic voice speak out those unfortunate words. That day, I felt a stiffness overwhelm my body. I was in disbelief; a large piece of my life has been chipped away from me in an instant.
I have known her since we were younglings. When my parents first drove out to the countryside I met her. Hair like black gold fell lusciously down her shoulders. Those eyes bright with innocence stared thoughtfully when mine caught hers. Lips that always curved to a smile arched upwards as I strode closer to her. She spoke with a tiny timid voice, but it was heavenly for me. She was just as wonderful to behold even when we were children. That first meeting—that first talk, first touch—convinced me that she must be mine. Mine alone.
But she was taken away from me.
I listened to no one. Their words were vague and blurry, but I seemed to recall phrases of apologies, condolences; remarks of enthusiasm, hands clasping my shoulders—as if any of these would make me forget the undeniable fact. I will never be whole again.
So I began to dream of her. It was a recurring trance of sorts every time I see her when I fall asleep. I always try to reach out to her with my arms outstretched, failing to pull her closer to my chest and simply give in to her warmth. I ran after her as the image dims in each and every instance, but I would never reach her or even touch her. All I see is her back turned against me, only the slim silhouette of a lifeless body burned into my head. She looks back at where I was, but she gazes blankly—like the emptiness of the dark.
Then she stops looking back.
As I continued to dream about her, she no longer attempted to look back at where I was—only appeared farther and farther away from me. It pained me that this made it more difficult to remember her face. I could only describe it but I can never see it again.
I forget when the din of the outside world became a shallow whisper. Each day I go to work, I succumb to a screeching chair and a vacant screen. For hours I would look at it, wondering if this was what she saw when she looked back at me. My boss told me I have been laid off from work a week after; the reasons were gibberish to me. I was only scrutinizing the carpeted floor of his office as he spoke. I began to deprive myself of sleep. I did not want to see her leaving me again.
So she visited me while I lay awake.
I began keeping all her things I have in my apartment into a box—remnants of my fondest memories. I stored them in an unused closet never to be reopened for my sake. But they seem to have a life of their own.
On one occasion I find her necklace on my bed. I was startled and terrified, then angered by such a cruel joke played on me. Who would have the nerve to do this to me? On another I pick up torn pieces of her picture on the floor. I cried as I took each one of them from where they rested. Why would anyone wish to tear the only photo I have of her?
Finally, in the middle of the night I see her face on the bathroom mirror—all the hair at my nape rose in horror. A familiar chill ran down my spine. It was only for a second or two, but that same blank stare crept into my very soul. She was sending me a message.
Thus she came closer to me as I lay on my bed. I was petrified and paralyzed. I was screaming in my head, but my voice failed me. She inched even nearer, her hand outward towards my face. Her fingers were cold, but they stroked my cheeks—then my neck. She leaned closer to look at me in the eye. But her face…I saw no face. No eyes, no nose, no lips—only the pale colour of her skin. Mouth-less, she spoke to me the very way she spoke to me when we were young—that tiny timid voice.
She told me I must be whole again.
She visited me again a month before our anniversary. On that same bed I could not bear look at her. She caressed by bare chest, my arms, as I tried to edge away. I felt her begin to lie beside me. As her skin touched mine, my breathing halted—I was disoriented and only panic surfaced. She placed her arms over me and clasped tight. That voice that I once found to love as a child now slithered into my ears like a shrill chorus of dread.
She whispered to me that I must be whole again…with her.
I now see the truth of her words as I stand by the edge of a concrete precipice. I peek below and gape at the dark chasm beneath me. It is the same dark oblivion that she saw as she looks back at me. There is emptiness inside of her that only I can fill. We must both become whole again—and only our bond will make it so.