“I don’t want to tell you who I am,” she whispers just as I’m thinking how much I want her to keep talking.
I want her to talk to me until I know enough to make her the main character of a novel I’d never even thought of before her.
“You don’t have to,” I say, “but I would love to discover you.”
“Create me, then.”
She takes my hand and wraps it around her waist, and as I hold her I think that maybe this girl shouldn’t be out there. I shouldn’t think of her as a character, artistic as that might be. She doesn’t need to belong to the world. She doesn’t even have to belong to me. Some paintings aren’t meant to be exposed, they are only meant to express.
I want to capture her essence and remember it forever, but then I remember that she is in my arms and I hug her tightly one more time. I don’t want to waste this second with stupid attempts to immortalise it. It’s fading already. She reaches for the lighter, and we share a cigarette in silence, shared loneliness, noises of the streets and of the skies.
I don’t care who she is, I’m in love with her already, or I’m in love with the man she’s turning me into – it’s too early to tell the difference. Tomorrow is all up to her, but now I’ll shut the windows and lock the door if I have to, because tonight she won’t slip through my fingers.”
An old almost lover wrote this about me. I still remember it, word for word, like some kind of lovely curse. It makes me smile when I run out of reasons.
Well, people do what they want and usually hate it after. Eventually he hated it when he found out that what he thought I was wasn’t really me. The next morning I ran back home and vanished from his life. The truth is that I don’t know how to be out in the open. I never did.
The grass did look greener on his side, but I knew I wasn’t going to make it all the way there and frankly, I didn’t want to. The only place where I allow my feelings to exist is in my art. Any form of affection I felt for him that night was nothing else but fuel to my fire. As for him, he was only a raw sketch, an undefined character, inspiration. That’s about how much people like him mean to me – and it’s funny, because I’m talking about people at their most lovable, when I want to wrap my fingers around theirs and read with my feet entangled to theirs, and think of never letting go. But I don’t, because thinking creates feelings, then feelings kill the mind; so much for thinking.
I should have told him that from the very start, should have told him, “Baby, nobody can give you them so you can be you, because that’s just not the way it works. Write until it’s strange and quiet inside your head, then sleep on it. You’ll wake up feeling fresh and strong and I’ll be nothing more than last night’s mysterious girl. You can not possibly love such a thing. Love is either mutual or stupid. There. A few more seeds in the ground.”
But of course, I didn’t. I let him trace me instead, line by line. All until a wave of warmth washed over me, and for a moment I felt as safe and sound as a girl like me could possibly feel. In the back of my mind, I’m always waiting for when the spell will be broken by a phone call, hunger or daylight. Then I’d just lie there, gnashing my teeth in frustration and covering up my soul before he’d turn his head to look over the shoulder and smile at me, as if we were still surrounded by magic. But instead, that’s when I escape.
I’ve learned that I am the ultimate ticket to happiness.
They say they want to discover me, I tell them there’s not much to see. In a way, I’m not lying. You know all those things you’ve always wanted, but thought they aren’t real? They aren’t, because you haven’t created them yet. Before they’d want to touch me again I’m gone. You put the pieces together from here.
He sent me the note a few nights later, through a mutual friend. There was a P.S. too – and I won’t lie, reading this part felt like swallowing hot rocks for a second or so. It said, “I used to think it’s the daylight that breaks the spell of night. Now I know it’s girls like you who do it.”