• Vol. 03
  • Chapter 06
Image by


She’s like a hole in my head. Her face is blurring in my memory, fading under so much scrutiny like an overexposed Polaroid. I don’t know if it would please her more to know I can’t quite picture her anymore or that she’s never quite left my mind.

It’s been years, years and she still wanders across my thoughts, meandering like a graceless dancer, her unfocused eyes never looking at me, her gaping shirt never exposing as much as it should. I wonder sometimes if she peers through my eyes, if she and I share the dreams in which we meet. I wonder if she’s as afraid to find me as I am to seek her out. I wonder if she remembers me at all.

There’s a photograph, but I can’t look at it. Not until her face fades into a featureless oval, framed by the darkness of her hair. Then I rush to find it, clumsy fingers struggling with the edges of tight-sealed cardboard lids and scrabbling through the deliberate mess of other, random memories. I can only relax when she’s clasped delicately in my fingers, the one, imperfect image I’ve allowed myself. A candid shot, washed out by bad light, blurred by her swaying, the towel coming to wrap around her shoulders, the gaping of her top not yet corrected and all the more perfect by the fact she never knew I took it. Never knew I stole a moment she kept to herself, the moment before she noticed, before her mask slid into place and she looked at me like a stranger.

It was near the end. I know I shouldn’t have taken it. Shouldn’t have kept it, but it was near the end and we both knew it. I could see it in the shadows of her face, in unfocused shaking of my hands. It was near the end and when she would have left me with nothing, I stole a little piece of her so she would never feel whole.