I can see the girl I knew unfurl out of your body like the smoke of the cigarettes you used to burn, tendrils of ash and dust left to scatter in the wind. You are the faceless girl that walks through a park at night, moving through the world with the ease of a ghost. And then you disappear down a strange trail, one with the darkness and never to be seen again. You are here and not here, standing on this earth but lured into the otherworld. Perhaps the girl I befriended existed only for a lapse of time, a better version of the girl you’d become. A girl I now mourn.
I believe everything happens for a reason. I think we might’ve been destined to meet. I might have attracted your presence because we are filaments of energy on the same cosmic plane, and when we came together, sparks of your electricity fizzled with mine and combusted to form a supernova. I think my theory explains why every time I came home from seeing you, every part of me from my stomach to the tips of my fingers were tingling with frisson, my face still flushed from the heat of your company. I didn’t know you for long, but you illuminated my life for a brief period of time.
Even after we lost touch, sometimes I still thought of you. Months and years flew by, but daydreams of you kept me company through battles where I had nothing left to lose. You were the fireflies that lit up the dark forest of life, leading the way to the other side. Through the violence of the summer to the blizzards of the winter, I would see your bright smile, hear your funny voice, encouraging me to be myself and saying the things that no one dared to say. You were more honest and unique than anyone I knew, and you were a force to be reckoned with.
But to yourself, you were a double-edged sword.
I don’t know how to make sense of how you unraveled, but I know that without proper care, you were the kind of girl who could fall and fall endlessly down the abyss. You were too wild, too powerful, too difficult to tame. You’re the nymph who lures handsome princes from their beds to nights that will leave them shivering for the rest of their lives. You jumped naked into ice-cold lakes and went out every night and took things that would twist and tangle your perception of reality, take the kinds of risks that would later make evil spirits curse you. People said the things you did would catch up to you, and eventually, they did.
I wonder how you see life now. Do you slip through the streets like a breeze, invisible to the world? Is the world still tangible to you—can you feel your feet on the ground, can you smell the roses? Do you still have any aspirations, or are you busy dancing with the devil?
I speculate that the last time that we spoke, the girl I knew was already fraying at the seams. You were lonely even if you were standing in a crowded room, your mind somewhere else when we were with our friends. We noticed it, and you hid it. You told us to look away, but we could see your light begin to fade.
And slowly it burned out.
I miss you. I miss the comfort of your presence. I miss laughing with you at parties and shooting horror movies with you that no one should ever see. I miss your blunt honesty and your dark imagination and your witty sense of humor. I miss dancing with you in the hallways and exchanging the events that marked our childhoods that led to us to share the same worst fears. I miss how you listened to me and made an attempt to unravel me when no one else did. But now, even though we couldn’t be more different, I realize we’re the same. We’re two girls lost in the dark forest of life, looking for the answers to the way out. We navigate through thickets and labyrinths as the years slip us by. We walk the same paths without realizing they’ll lead us nowhere, we look for a sign of life for anyone, anyone, who could lead us out. I wish I could find you, I wish I could take the girl I knew from the strange trail you had vanished on. But while you’re not the same as you were before, you’re still young and you can still change for the better. God, I hope you do.
I wish you the best.
Victoria Castillo is a high school senior who enjoys writing, dance, and playing the guitar. Her work has been published in SILLY GAL Magazine.