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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Girl


I've often wondered what she carries in that oversized purse slung over her shoulder. It must weight as much as she does, but she'd never let someone else carry it for her. She doesn't let anyone touch her purse at all. She'll even get defensive if she sees someone looking at it for too long, like she's afraid someone is going to steal it from her. Not that they could with how much it weighs and it's  nothing more than a brown leather messenger bag. I can only imaging the treasure must be inside. Why else would someone be so protective of a worthless bag?

Let paint you a picture of this girl. She's the shy brunette you'd see seeing alone in a trendy cafe in SoHo, with her hair down to her knees, wild and unkempt. She's the type of girl you'd see walking aimlessly down the city streets in the middle of the night with her footprints echoed by the falling rain. She's always got her eyes pressed to the lens of a camera, as though life is better through the glass. When she's not looking through the glass, she's looking down at an open book. Maybe editing or she's already  written, writing a new masterpiece or indulging in a world created for her by another author. She doesn't talk to anyone. She walks around looking lifeless, yet clutching to her bag.

She was always that way, ever since we were young. She was reclusive. She didn't talk to many people. Those she did talk to became few and far between as she got older. By the time high school hit, it was just her and me. I'd greet her at the door and walk with her to school. Most of the time, in complete silence. I didn't bother trying to talk because I knew she wouldn't be able to hear me through the chaos in her mind. She seemed to enjoy having a physical companion, someone to share space with so she didn't feel alone. But she wasn't lonely and she didn't need to stumble through conversations about the weather. I didn't mind. I'd walk her to her classroom every morning, then head backwards to my own. At the end of the day, I'd be waiting at the doors to walk her home. I never saw her over the lunch hour. I never asked where she ate, if she even bothered at all. Our relationship existed in silence. It worked that way.

She wasn't my only friend, the way I was hers. When I moved to this run down city, it was hard to make new friends. I had been used to a big city, alive with millions of heartbeats and footsteps. Shuffling through sidewalks to avoid hitting people. Dozens of children in the playground. Here, she was the only other kid my age. I think I mostly felt sorry for her. She had lived here her whole life. That couldn't be easy. Even if she didn't know she was missing something consciously, I think a part of her soul knew there was more out there.

I used to dream about taking her to my hometown and showing her around. I thought she'd love the bright lights and the constant motion. There would be so much to do and so much to see. She finally feel at peace. At least, that's how it always worked in my head. I never said these thoughts out loud. I once told my older brother, Kevin, that I wanted to take her around the world. He told me something that I didn't understand at the time. But watching us grow up as such different people, I came go understand. He said to me "some people are born with just their heads in the clouds, some are born with soaring hearts." He actually used the line in a song with his band a few years later. No matter how many times I hear that line, I always think of that night on the porch. I always think about her.