Daffodils

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You are nine, and Her hands are full of yours when she drags you through the trees behind Her house, and your ankles are bleeding in six places. She leaves purple stains on your wrists and you find out two hours later in the emergency room that you are allergic to blackberries. She leaves violet fingerprints on the sheets when She sits in bed next to you (the nurse said not to). She tells you She hates hospitals. You don't mind them when She is here, too.

You are fourteen, and Her eyes are the coffee stains your mother leaves on the table top, and you are not watching the way Her mouth moves when She talks. Except you are. You are sitting on the kitchen counter with your shoes in the sink. She is listening to Drops of Jupiter for the seventeenth time (you counted) and sketching the lines of a face you do not recognize. When you tell Her that She reminds you of daffodils, She puts both hands on her sketchbook and smiles with just Her mouth. You do not know what daffodils look like, but your older sister once said they were the loveliest flowers in the world. You hope She understands what you mean.

You are sixteen and a half, and Her lips are butterscotch, and you are scared to death. She decides that She hates summer. Summer sits on Her chest and gives Her panic attacks at three in the morning. You cannot count the hours you spend sitting with your head against the outside of the bathroom door listening to Her broken tempo breathing on the other side. Except you are counting (eighty-seven hours and fourteen minutes) because you are counting everything these days. You fall asleep at two minutes till two with the taste of Her name in your throat.

You are seventeen, and She has an ocean of constellations (or are they freckles?) on her skin, and you do not know anything. Her nose crosses at right angles with yours, and Her mouth tastes like spearmint chewing gum and breathing, and you are pretending She isn't sketching a terrifying patchwork ladder under her sleeves, and she is pretending that she slept last night (you know she didn't). Kissing Her is your favorite thing in the world.

You are three days from turning eighteen, and She is packed into a box like the worst gift you've ever received, and you are knee-deep in everything She has left over. Her parents send a card to the funeral (they're in Taiwan for five months). You don't know anything except She's wearing purple, and you bought daffodils but you want to throw them at a wall, and you feel like throwing up the whole service. You feel like dying. And She just did.






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