Smart, talented, extremely beautiful
under all that black eye makeup
and former dreadlocks
. I always admired your achievements and the person you are. Quiet, well liked but often gossiped about. (So what if your parents found the quarter you had stashed under the bed, and threw out the bowl your sister bought for your birthday present).
I watch your porcelain doll features and waif like frame from afar, having only spoken with you a handful of times. I see you losing pound after pound, skull becoming obvious beneath tightly drawn skin. People say it’s your medication. I know better than that, and so do you.
Your hair grows long over the years, relentlessly dyed a cruel, harsh black whenever the natural mahogany begins to shine through. You’re in one of my classes, I talk to you more often. You’re so quiet. You’re so much like me. I see myself in your eyes, the side of me fighting to get out of the confined box of conformity.
You wear too much perfume and the smell overpowers any room you enter. People say it’s to cover up dirty hippie stench. I’ve never smelled a true hippie before, so I can’t tell. It wouldn’t hurt if you perhaps bathed more often. Wash the dye out of your hair and wipe the gobs of mascara and eyeliner from your face.
Today I saw your scars; neat, red lines running parallel from elbow to wrist on your right arm. My vision blurs. I look down at my own arms, covered in jagged scars, not nearly as neat as yours. My heart aches for you, and I want to say something. But I can’t. It’s during the middle of a high school class, we’re surrounded by kids who think this sort of thing belongs in psycho movies.
I think I’ll find your phone number one day, and perhaps we can talk then.
Update: see February 3, 2001