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by Bee 

Posted: 06 August 2004
Word Count: 565

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Mid-sentence, as you were speaking to her, you could see her mind flip elsewhere, you could see her eyes go vacant, and sometimes she would even close them and start humming, I think it was Enya. She was my best friend, but even I hardly knew her. I could get only so close, and the wall would deter me, stony, icy and yet…

And yet I knew that she loved me. I knew that she would do anything for me, I also knew – and this was the scarier part – that she hated herself, she hated her distance, her aloofness, for it wasn’t elected, it was who she was from some childhood turmoil – I am guessing. But her insular self just pointed at all the signs, her silent tears, her flinching at any human contact and the absolute impossibility to share emotions. Her heart was rooted, I don’t think even she knew her own heart.

And then I met her mother, her vibrant burnished haired mother with warm grey eyes, and the house inviting with coffee and cigarette smoke filtering through, the yaps of dogs biting at your feet. ‘Come in, hello love – call me Marge!’ I was aghast. I don’t know what I had expected, but not warm and inviting. I had wanted to hate her mother, to put blame on her for her daughter’s visible melancholy, but instead I found myself with sudden affection for her, I would look forward to visiting, to the kitchen and the coffee and the dogs biting my feet.

So, what was it? What left her so burdened, what brought on the tears, the nights out in the corner just drinking and smoking, drinking and smoking. I was of the school that depression came from somewhere, there always had to be a reason. And at those parties, whilst everyone else was downing tequilas, dancing to The Pixies and being generally a hedonistic teenager, I would sit beside her and share her drink and smoke my own cigarettes and my mind would whirl and whirl and whirl, trying – in vain – to figure her out.

My mother once asked me if I was friends with her for the romantic effect, knowing someone that was tortured, she said, seemed to be almost validating my artistic self. I had argued with her, tears and slamming doors - but I had walked away wondering if she was right, was I thriving off the torture of another, was I so sadistic. I would like to say with conviction, absolutely not – but I think there is some truth to that, I loved her, of course I did and I wish with all my heart she was here, sitting beside me, silently sipping her neat vodka and taking a drag of her cigarette. But there was a part of me that was silently awed at her rawness and her pain; there was a part of me that was almost jealous.

I wasn’t surprised when I got the phone call, it was a matter of time, I miss her – and I miss her mother and the inviting aroma of coffee, the cigarette smoke and the dogs biting my legs. But, I’m happy – and I think that’s what she’d want, me to continue my life without angst, without self-loathing, but as happy as the day possibly allows you to be.

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