When I last saw Sadie Ginsburg, she was flat on her back. She had her arms splayed out beside her and palms upturned, almost like one of those windup toys with cymbals instead of hands pulling back for the clash.
Sometimes, when her mind ran away with her, she’d lie like that in the open field behind my house for hours and hours. Nestled between the clouds and overgrown crabgrass she’d swallow up the world. It was the only time I saw her silent.
Sadie’s mom was a plump woman who pulled her hair back in tight ponytails and wore thick red lipstick. On some nights, when Sadie went home, I’d imagine those lips leaving hearts on her forehead, later smeared away by her mother’s thumb. On other nights, when the voices where sharp, I would picture those lips throwing rocks at Sadie, and Sadie’s skinny arms chucking them back. After nights like those, she would lie in the field until her body started aching and her soul stopped. I never understood why we sometimes took out our anger on those we love; Sadie said it was because we knew they’d come back.
When Sadie was fourteen, she won a blue satin sun dress from the county fair. It was printed in forget-me-nots. I never liked the dress, but I liked the way Sadie twirled in it so she could feel the fabric on her legs¬¬, the way she laughed when she caught herself off balance. When Sadie was fifteen, she wore her favorite blue dress when she stepped in front of a car. That was when I learned that Sadie was wrong. Not everyone would come back.
I found her lying there, just like she always did, with arms wide and palms up. Not in the field behind my house where she’d sink into the crabgrass, but in front of old Avery’s store on the corner of 5th and Greenwood. I wanted to tell her, “Get up, this isn’t a place for you to daydream,” and then she would roll to her feet, skip over, and pinch me in retaliation, but I didn’t, and she couldn’t. I just stood there and watched as color drained from her face and turned her field of forget-me-nots into a meadow of lavender. She was quiet, and I was quiet, and I wished for it to be loud. That was how I saw Sadie last, her hazel eyes being dried out like meat in the sun, until shadows stretched across her body and onto the sidewalk, where she embraced the world and it swallowed her up in turn.