She's caught inside my head, the little girl that once roamed these halls. She used to sing her little tunes as she picked the flowers in the back yard. She told stories about the black bird that visited her in the mornings. She's long since gone now, only a distant memory in my mind.
They'll ask, one day, whatever happened to her? They see a glimpse of that high school girl in my eyes--at the grocery store, around town. They stare long enough to realize that I am not the person who they recognized, only a faded picture of what once used to be.
To me, she's dead. She ceases to exist not only on this earth but in my heart, as well. To some, she never was. Am I an erased life, a soul that simply doesn't exist anymore? I feel as though I have no past. I am a damaged painting--blotted out and hard to decipher.
When I close my eyes to sleep at night all I see are faded memories from a life that, to me, never was. She's standing on the edge looking out at the world. No one ever saw her for what she was, only for what they wanted her to be. I can't deny the cries I hear--they echo in the wind. Jump little girl, jump. Flipping through the photo albums, I touch the face of that little girl. I feel frightened--for her, for myself. She's nothing but a whisper in the wind. I feel as though I cannot connect with her anymore. It seems, to me, that Emily killed herself that night. I am nothing more than an inhabitor of her room, her space.
I pick up the paint brush she once used. I feel the tear spotted wood in between my fingers. The handle is coarse, much like how her eyes felt after a long night of terror. I dip the felt tip in the paint she once painted with. Her anger, her sadness, spreads itself out over my canvas. I can't cry anymore. I sleep in the bed she once occupied. I can still feel her tight grasp through the sheets. The knots she once tied left wrinkles in the blankets. And the window is cracked, just how she left it.
What resides in this room now is a haunted soul. He clutches those sheets in the night just like she used to. His tears still stain the same paint brush handles and the window is still cracked, just in case he decides he's had enough. The halls fill up with deafening silence and the house echoes with his screams from the terror. He can't trust himself--she couldn't either.
He looks in the hollow eyes of her brother. He never smiles anymore, only chuckles a bit when he looks at the faded photographs. He, too, has lost a bit of his heart--his past. His grasp feels empty when he goes in for a hug. His soft brown eyes never connect with the outside world. He seems lost, just like she was.
I worry what will become of him, of her only brother. Will he make it--find that his life really is a success? He has the features of his father, not only physical but emotional as well. He drinks with the same emptiness his father once had. He is nothing more than skin and bones--obvious signs that yesterday's problems have been brought back to the same pale surface.
I can only sit here, in this empty room, and remember what used to be. The shelves are quickly giving way to the dust. The dishelved books are piled up on the floor. And, when I stare in the mirror, I don't recognize the face that stares back at me. His face is thining and my mind is becoming weaker.
Dust fills the picture frames.
Dust fills the picture frames.