• Vol. 03
  • Chapter 06
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The Girl She Used To Be

The girl she used to be wore orange, went braless in summer (and topless on foreign beaches), curled her hair and drank white wine spritzers from tall, frosted glasses.

The girl she used be worked hard in college, partied as much as she studied, had three boyfriends at once and several lecturers wrapped around her little finger, its nail painted red.

The girl she used to be had no cares, no worries. At least none that we could see. None she’d let us see. None we wanted to see.

The girl she used to be waved us goodbye from the wedding car, tin cans grazing the tarmac, balloons bashing the doors, confetti covering the roof like pockmarks. The man who married the girl she used to be never looked back, sped up so we couldn’t give chase for more than a few seconds.

The girl she used to be disappeared.

The black and white girl in the newspaper picture startles us. A stranger’s unsmiling gaze, looking twenty years older than six months ago. The birth and death dates identical in day and month and far too close in years.

After the wake we go back to the comfort of our Polaroids. Back to an orange blouse, red nails, blue eyes and carefully smudged eyeliner. No, no we don’t like that — eye make-up too much like a bruise. Back to the girl on a foreign beach, spritzer in hand, smiling, laughing, head thrown back. No, not this one either — he must be just out of shot, about to walk into our lives and take her away.

We find her at a party, in black and white, alone in a corner. We didn’t know we’d seen the picture before.

Now we’ll never stop looking for the girl she used to be.