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I believe in an afterlife. It is the only belief that keeps me going. I believe in God. I believe that there is a heaven, hell, and purgatory. I believe in having faith in God and doing what is right to get into heaven. My beliefs are the only thing that keeps me on this earth. If I did not believe that there was something to strive for, I would have killed myself by now. If there was nothing to strive for after this life, death would be my only choice.
I curled my hand around my coffee cup. The coffee shop was empty except a homeless man sitting on the couch in the corner and the barista taping her acrylic nails on the counter. I had my little ear buds in my ear but no music played. The music had stopped an hour ago but I did not feel like listening to anything except the ticking of the clock behind me. The only reason I kept the buds in was so no one would talk to me.
The steam of my coffee floated up into my face making the smell of the caffeine irresistible. I took a large gulp of my coffee. I did not realize it was so hot until I felt my tongue burning when I put my cup down on the table. I curled my tongue back in my mouth feeling major pain. I tried to ignore the pain and wait for it to pass.
Her hair used to be sweet golden honey blonde when she was born. You could not tell because of the punk pink dye job that she did herself. We ran to CVS one night when I slept over her house. We ran down every isle stocking up on high caffeine sodas and junk food. Everything good in life is either illegal or high in fat. To get to the magazines we had to pass the hair products. She stopped to stare at the crazy hair dye. There was neon blue, green, yellow, orange, red, and our favorite: neon pink. We stuck the dye in our basket with all intentions of just dying the tips of her hair. Her mother nearly had an aneurism when she saw her entire head painted hot pink. It was worth the grounding to see the faces of people as she walked down the hallway at school the next Monday.
She sits across from me but I know she is not real. Her taunting smile lingers on her face. Her hot pink hair dangles in her face and sticks to her red berry lipstick. She taps her acrylic black and white nails on the table. She is Eris, the goddess of chaos. She taunts me with her presence. She is here to drag my sanity to the breaking point. She is here to drag me to the place I had tried so hard for all my life to stay away from. She is here to drag me to hell. She is a dead angel. She is Beth.
Beth was my angel. Beth was the girl at school who rolled her uniform skirts and wore too much jewelry and makeup. She always wore dark purple eye shadow and massive amounts of eyeliner. She always carried around mascara in her pocket for emergencies. She was the person in class everyone cheated off of but never talked to after class. People thought she was a freak. Beth did not care
“Rylee,” Beth hummed stretching her hand across the table. She touched my hand. The touch of her hand felt real. It was like the real Beth had actually touched my hand. Her hand was cold. I looked up at her to see her sinister smile stretched across her face. She took her hand away from mine and placed it in her lap. She disappeared like the ghost she is.
When Beth and I could not sleep we would come to this coffee shop. We would drink coffee and each as many scones as we could afford. The barista, Mischa, always questioned Beth’s pink hair. We would sit in this booth for hours talking and reading the c**p they fed us from our text books.
What Beth and I talked about the most is religion. Being a good little catholic girl I always debated her when she said she believed in reincarnation. She thinks she is the reincarnated soul of Kurt Cobain. If Beth did not dye her hair pink they would definitely have the same hair color. They both have beautiful musical and writing talent. The only problem with her theory is that she was two when Kurt Cobain died. Beth thinks she will come back as a rhino. “Rhinos are just fat gray unicorns,” she would always say. I tell her when she dies that her soul goes into heaven and that is it. She just laughs and says she will come back as a flamingo because of her hair.
Beth said she believed in angels. It was one of the only things we could agree on. We could only agree on music, movies, and angels. She believed that one day and angel will come and take her away from this earth. She doodled little angels in the margins of her school papers. She said she had a dream one time where her guardian angel appeared to her. She said her name was Persephone. I joked telling her that is perfect considering her love of Greek mythology.
When Beth was fifteen she became a picture on the back of the milk carton. She became the MISSING poster you see in the grocery store. She became memorial with candles and pictures on the main bulletin board at our school. Her smile was only a picture. She became one of our angels.
Persephone is Beth’s angel. Beth always said that Persephone visited her in her dreams and whenever she felt alone. I told her she should never feel alone because I was always there for her. But I could not be there for her when she needed me. I wonder if Persephone was there when Beth went missing.
Persephone is Beth’s guardian angel.
Beth is my guardian angel.
I walk outside the coffee shop and stood by the bench. I pull out a cigarette and light it. The smoke filled the air. The bus pulls up to drop off a few people. All I could see is three people on the bus. I toss my cigarette to the ground. I stomped on it and walked onto the bus. I walked all the way to the back of the bus. I sat down and closed my eyes. As the bus started to drive away from the coffee shop I think about Beth. I think Beth is a flamingo, now.



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