I picked up this paper to write to someone else, but I saw you looking back at me across the pristine white plastic chasm of my sink, that I only just cleaned today, the Venus razor balanced precariously on the ledge, wobbling, indecisively contemplating falling, and thought how long it has been since we have talked, since I have really seen you.
I didn’t recognize you at first. Hair mussed, cascading across your face while at the same time statically charged, standing on end. Shaking hands push it back to reveal a sunken face. Is there anything behind those sallow cheeks and hopeless eyes? Was there a time when they sparkled and smiled?
Don’t turn away. I didn’t mean to bring up tender memories grown raw from overuse. Raw like your arms that you have been rubbing ceaselessly, wringing out the fear. A little red but alive. Young. Strong. But not really. What can they do? Hold a pen, press buttons, turn pages, cling limply to railings on buses, stairways, lifting, holding you up. For what purpose? What have they done? Such a waste of human flesh to have so much power literally at your fingertips and to let it slip through your grasp like the gush of water shooting past your touch into the basin of the sink. They don’t seem to understand that they have given up.
It seems so sad to mar them.
They are a reminder of what was, or rather, what could have been, what you could have done. Of your potential. It’s funny to think of you now sitting alone in your bathroom, toilet turned armchair, unwelcome light sneaking in through the blinds dancing on the tiled floor, teasing.
Is this what you wanted? The girl in the picture frame. The little girl, white-blond curls bouncing as she runs toward the photographer, toward her future, toward the possibility of anything and everything.
Don’t look at me like that. You brought me here. Y ou chose as well as me to become this person, this face, this empty shell who can’t even make the decision to leave, to eradicate herself without trepidation.
Why am I writing this? I should be writing to the person who will find me, who will find my prison sprawled on the floor in a mess unnatural to the sterilized space. Will they care? They’ll probably wonder what they did wrong. Never understanding that the guilty party lies at their feet. I wish they would blame you. Blame that face. Blame your inability to act, to choose to make something of yourself. But they won’t. Don’t they see the monster that you have made me become? How can they look past the death to see light behind those eyes?
I wish… I wish I didn’t love them.
You look at me from your mirror, piercing eyes peering into my soul and I can’t bear it. Tears drip down and I push against the faucet, stopping the flow. I won’t see you again. The empty face. The strange girl in the mirror. I don’t want to know you.
One last look. For what they see. Just for a second.
Maybe. I can be that girl.