I'm figuring out this weird plane of existence we call "life". Y'know?
Writer of Clementine. You don't know what it is yet.
I’m gonna…try and use this thing more. No promises.
In case any of you are wondering, Riley and I have made up. She’s gonna be in a film I’m doing over the summer. I feel…happy.
Riley is an actress. She’s more successful than anyone I know. In a world of mistaken identities, she is a certified profile. She’s the one you want for your team. She usually works at a small theatre on the fringe of Bethesda. They were doing a version of The Tempest I had never seen before. After the show, I waited outside, to give her a special gift. There was a man outside, as well. He said he wanted to inquire about the durability of the wigs in the water, or something. To be honest, I wasn’t really paying attention.
She came out, with a few castmates of hers, talking. Laughing. She saw me, and quickly threw me into an embrace. I gave her a special gift, a box of little wrapped chocolates. She had a look of intense desire, then snatched them away from me.
She asked me how I liked the show. I said I really liked it. She wanted me to review it, since I’m a notoriously verbose individual. I said sure.
I never did.
I told her I’d give her a script I was working on. She said she’d love to see it.
I never gave it to her.
She said she needed to go. I needed to as well. We exchanged a quick embrace, then went our separate ways.
One time, I told her about my sister. I never really told anyone about my sister. The tiny loft on top of my high school’s theatre stage was a place where Riley and I would talk about ourselves. I would talk, and she would listen. It sounds like a one way street, but it was something. She attempted to understand me, which is more than what I can say about anyone else. Those moments, I felt like someone…cared. That I was no longer alone.
And then another embrace.
Riley rarely smokes. The night I was talking to her, I was surprised to see her drawing smoke out of the window. We talked about vices. The habits that kill us and define who we really are. I was drinking a bottle of beer, she was burning her leaves and paper.
"Smoke and glass", I think she said.
I tried to kill myself in high school. She knew, of course. At the moment, me, being the emotive and slightly drunk one, told her about my ex. And my parents. And about how I really wanted to end it all. How I no longer felt the will to live.
She told me something that startled me.
"Don’t kill yourself man, because you’re pretty fuckin’ awesome."
It was the way she said it. It was a very matter-of-fact and direct statement, but it felt…loving. It felt concerned. It felt real. I never forgot that night. I never believed in people “saving your life”, but it’s the only way to describe it.
The years went by. She knew what she wanted, and she let nothing stop her. She landed an acting spot on TV. I was ecstatic. I even still have it recorded somewhere.
But something happened.
We rarely talked. She hangs out with other friends, which is fine. She ignores my messages, which is also fine.
But I got angry at her. I yelled at her. It was not fine. It was not OK.
I made her cry once. It wasn’t my fault, it was the decision of the school play, they didn’t want her around anymore. I had no right to tell her. But I did. And she cried. And I despised myself for it.
But, after all that, she was still my friend.
When we graduated high school, we were in high spirits. We met outside the school, everyone wearing red and silver gowns, hugging friends, family, and what have you. We met, and we embraced.
The final thing she said to me was “We’re definitely hanging out this summer”.
To this day, that was the last time I ever saw her.
I honestly don’t know why I’m writing this. It’s 2:30 in the morning.
She’s fine. She’s in college. She’s studying and working hard. And she’s back to her love of acting.
My sister died before she was ever born. I never got to see her. I never had the chance to know what food she liked, or what books she wanted to read, or what games she wanted to play. I would never hug her, or kiss her, or tell her I loved her.
Riley was her. She was her. I’m sure of it. If not by blood, then by spirit.
I miss her. I miss our long talks, I miss someone understanding me, I miss the person that cheers me up when I’m down, I miss the person that listens to my crazy ideas for a movie or TV show, or anything, really.
I miss the loft. I miss the box of chocolates. I miss the cigarette.
I miss my sisters.
I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry, Riley.
It’s 3:00 in the morning. At least I can sleep into a better place.