Where one life ends, another begins.
I Will Be Grateful For This Day12:23 PM, in the clothing store, in the shoe section. I was examining a pair of high heels that looked like they could be used as a deadly weapon and I couldn't help but wonder if I should invest in said high heels, because you never know when you might need to defend yourself. Perhaps it was capable of being more effective than pepper spray. I was busy amusing myself by thinking of different ways everyday clothing items can be used as defense mechanisms when an older woman tapped me on the shoulder. I felt immediately childish just standing next to her; my hair was in pigtails, I had red Mary-Jane's on my feet and a flowery dress lazily hanging off of my body. Her hair was curly in all of the right places, her make-up applied so light that it was barely noticeable and she had a level of confidence about her that I think can only be acquired with age and experience. She was intimidating and beautiful and she was looking directly at me.
"I'm sorry," she said, color suddenly appearing in her cheeks. "Oh, I'm sorry; this is so strange of me to do. You just look so much like my niece. I had to touch you to make sure you weren't really her."
"Oh, it's okay!" I said. "I actually get told a lot that I look like other people. I guess I have a lot of twins!" (For some reason, I am always unusually chipper when communicating with strangers.)
She gestured to my feet and said, "She even owned shoes similar to that. It is just so strange, it really is. You could be her."
I just smiled and laughed a little, but I noticed that the last line was spoken with some heaviness. Speaking about her niece seemed to drain something out of her, like just being reminded of her placed a huge weight on her heart.
"I really am sorry for bothering you like this. She died last week and it still hasn't set in yet. I still think that I see her."
I felt a pain in my heart when she said those words and I wasn't sure if saying anything could express the amount of sorrow that I felt for her. I went with the generic and expected, "I understand," followed up with, "I'm sorry for your loss."
"Don't be," she said. "She took her own life. She is happier now. I just wish I could be as happy with her decision to leave this world as she was." She smiled a bit and continued, "I am happy that her long lost twin is still around for me to mistake for her. Take care. Sorry, again."
I knew at that point that nothing I could say would matter, that just by looking like her niece, I mattered. That just by being alive and breathing and a reminder of someone that she loved, I mattered. I didn't need to say a thing.
I left without buying anything and when I arrived home, I looked into my bedroom mirror. The only body I will ever own, the only thing that is truly mine, and I have harmed it and tried to abandoned it on countless occasions. I suppose you cannot truly appreciate some things until someone forces you to look at it directly and really see it for what it is. Her niece left and will never get to come back. Will never again get to experience a summer night, when all of the insects are loudly communicating with one another and all of the people are out trying to recreate memories from their youth. Will never again fall asleep in a warm bed, thinking of all of the things that she needs to accomplish the next day. Will never read another book, see another film, meet someone new, be hugged by someone, enter someone else's life. All of the people she could have met, all of the things that she could have seen, they will never happen now.
I took out a piece of paper and wrote at the top, "Reasons to Never Give Up," and the first reason I listed was, "Because you will never get another chance."
Short story by Samantha Fritsky
Read 952 times
Written on 2008-09-29 at 00:44
Tags Suicide  Rebirth  Appreciate
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