Girl of Autumn
She’s the girl who sits in staircases. The one combing her hair with her fingers, she’s all elbows and ankles and heartbreak. She’s the girls you’ll never catch crying, but when she does, in the dark dark of the night, it isn’t pretty or graceful. It’s great heaving sighs that sag with the weight of all the problems in the world that she obsesses over, the hidden stories that she knows are there and just can’t help wondering about. She thinks about bruised mothers and persistently muddy tiny feet. She thinks about what it would feel like to be caught in a hurricane. But most of all she thinks about all the pockets of loneliness. She sees them from miles away as if they were tinged slightly blue, surrounding those that you would least expect. She sees loneliness like a great quivering cloud dispersed throughout the world, and she watches as it grows and grows over her own head. She’s the kind of girl who drinks only beer, or coffee, black. She watches the wind and is appreciative, she watches the wind and knows it to bring change.
She gambles in kisses and fairy-like touch. She takes long drags of a cigarette, grimacing in that way that smokers do that’s one part misery and three parts satisfaction. She rolls it between her two fingers and thinks about all the people she’s broken. She thinks about the sweet one, with the too-bright stare and expensive shoes. How she led him into the forest and made him dance for her, his eyes closed and his shoes getting tarnished with the soil. She thinks about how he smiled for her, how he lay there, still smiling, even after she had escaped through the window, and sat perched on the roof, just watching to see how long he would wait for her. She thinks about the one with so many words and not enough courage. How he breathed in rhymes and verses but in the end he didn’t have enough air left over to kiss her. How he had been rendered speechless just at the moment when she thought she might have wanted him to tell her something true.
She’s the girl wearing high-waisted jeans and thickly laid armour. Her lipstick is smudged, just the tiniest bit, making her lips seem larger than they are in reality, showing her fragility in the smallest way. She’s the one who broke all of us, she tore us apart just like paper. We were a creased, worn map of a city that was teaming with mistrust and barely-hidden hostility. She threw a stone at her own desperate reflection in the mirror and it was only afterwards that we realized we were the pieces. We were the shards laying desolate on the floor, so far away from one another.
She’s the one who sat perched in her nest, a rare bird, or a hawk of some sort, watching us with one eye on the sky, constantly calculating her next move, and the moment she’d choose to fly away. She spoke only in riddles and gave bouquets of roses without the bloom, so that all that was left were the thorns. She never hid her blatant distaste for love, her bitter opinion. I think at first we wondered if someone had once touched her heart, someone stronger and more powerful than even she, someone who could play her emotions as she played ours. I stopped wondering after she broke me too, I wasn’t anywhere near dark enough to attempt her twisted desires, to bend myself into the tiny box she placed on her mantle with each one of her conquests. My hands weren’t large enough to sooth her, she yearned for someone that would hold her down. But I knew how she looked at the sky and I couldn’t do that.
She was more autumn than winter, despite what it seems. She was the colours of fire and she left tiny pieces of her scattered on the street as she walked, just like leaves. I spent a long time following them before I learnt that a mortal man would never be enough for her. She broke me but not in such a permanent way as some of the others, not in the way that would leave scars. She’s the girl that left me behind, but the first girl that I stopped running after. She’s just a speck of perfect agony that will litter the pages of many hearts. She is the wish that came true before you realized it wasn’t really what you wanted.
I think that if she had ever shown me her full humanity, if she had shouted instead of whisper, if she had spoke of all those distant problems that she had on her mind every moment, I would have been able to understand the desolate looks and the way she stared right through me. If she had shown me a weak side I might have been able to love her. I might have been able to fall for her. But how lucky I am that I didn’t.