My feet thump-thump-thump on the sidewalk and screech at the pebbles in my way. Thick, heavy strips of sunlight lay their warm sides on my cheek, flip-flap as my arms push through them. Shadows whisper over my face, sliding their cool fingers over my eyelids, my hair, and freezing my screaming-for-air legs.
My mouth gasps for help, for the endless blue skies of childhood, for the arpeggios of giggles that dribbled out of our mouths. My bones ache for the golden threads of friendship that entwined us in our dream, that pulled us together until we knew each other all too well, and then they tried to strangle me. They tried to strangle me. I escaped, only to find that they weren't strangling me at all. Too late.
I tried not to think of them as I ran, I tried not to have eyes on the back of my head so that I could see whether they were running after me or not. I clawed at my eyes, I blinded myself with my scratchy, faded version of the truth and rubbed it over my raw eyeballs, until they were bleeding crimson promises and clear watery hopes. They slipped through my fingers.
But I just had to look back, just to see if their feet were thump-thump-thumping after me, one pair of battered men's sneakers on asphalt, a pair of stylish flats clacking over the slabs, a pair of flip-flops slapping the gravel. My own family, my own soul mates, my bosom friends. My arms ached for them, I thrust aimlessly at the bit for one little scrap of salvation, one promise that had not burst and leaked over the crevices of my heart, stinging the scratches that they didn't know they'd done. They'd loved me, and they'd dug their clean fingernails straight into my heart, saying sorry, and ripped it until drips of blood slid from pieces of flesh.
I looked back and I saw no one there.
I scrabbled at the bonds holding them together, breaking my fingernails into chunks of crescent moons, scraped my fingers trying to pull apart the chains only to realize that no matter how hard I tried I couldn't break their chains.
Despair blooms in my stomach, snakes over my veins as I look back at the empty ghost towns of my memories. I wander from town to town, look and don't touch, water dripping from my eyes and throat as I almost drown in the scent, the essence, the feel of that which was once alive.
The water freezes into blades of ice, slashing my throat as they clunk their way down. I wheeze and sputter as I stretch my fingers out, as I will myself to touch those that were close to me. Don't stop me, I can almost feel it, almost feelit almostfeelitalmostfeelit-don't you see?
But I blink, and there's no one there. Only the sun criss-crossing its panels, the ink of night blooming over the rice-paper-thin dusk. There's no one there.