At the moment, she didn’t know what she was looking for. But now, looking back on it from a place she had not been before, she realized that she was looking for a tether. It’s funny how we don’t understand what it is that we need until the moment that it hits us that we never had it.
She had a strange habit of turning off the lights when she walked into rooms with mirrors. Some thought it was weird, but to her the black was like a warm blanket that hid her from herself when she needed it. She was the happiest when the night was all around her, whispering to her to revel things that the daylight would laugh at. She didn’t understand a lot of things in life, but she did understand blackness and it understood her. So on that summer night, with the warm breeze kissing her sun burned skin and the rhythmic sound of the waves coaxing the knot out of her stomach, she thought about the boy. In reality, she hardly knew him. What she didn’t know at the time, was that it was never really about him anyway.
There’s something about the air in the fall that had always made her lungs feel like they had never breathed as they had at that very moment before. She was wearing a white shirt when she saw the boy for the first time since last year. Her heart raced a little and her brain rolled its eyes. She knew better than to feel like this, but as she breathed in that air, oh god that damn air, she convinced herself that maybe this was her chance. Maybe this was finally her chance to reach out and grab her life before it disappeared in the rear view mirror. So she jumped despite the warning that there was no safety net to catch her.
That night was the first time that she didn’t feel comfort in the enveloping darkness around her. Ironically, the black felt more white than it had ever before. He was polite and perfect and nice and for the first time in a long time she wanted to feel again. But under that dark blanket she had come to know so well, something happened that she could not fully comprehend at the time. She was wearing a black dress.
The air got colder and so did she. The boy moved on after that night and for some reason she felt everything and nothing at the same time. She turned to liquid cures and nights she wouldn’t remember. She pushed those closest away and pulled in any stranger without asking for their name the next morning. She was falling back into old habits. And the worst part was that she could feel herself doing it, and she did nothing to stop it from happening. She couldn’t trust the black, she couldn’t trust the white, and she couldn’t trust herself.
It was at 3am on a Saturday when she was naked on the yellow tile floor of her bathroom with her face in a toilet when she realized what she was looking for. She realized what this feeling was, this feeling that always seemed to find her no matter where she ran from it. She felt like she was drifting through life, like she was this small little particle of a person floating through the world and passing by things without the ability to stop in front of them. She was running to stand still. And that’s when she realized that it was never about the boy. She was looking for a tether. Something, anything, to stop her from drifting. A connection to the world around her.
And so she sat, naked, on the yellow tile floor and thought. She didn’t know if it was the alcohol that was pulsing through her veins, but for the first time she was scared. Scared of the darkness closing in around her, scared of the clock with the broken hand. Before she knew it the room went dark, and once again she was drifting. And the curious girl realized that she was under glass again.