She licks her paper lips slowly, lets her eyelids peel back and stares into the abyss. A whole inky black sky splayed out vastly above, decorated with tiny pinpricks of stars. “How strange.” The words leave her mouth before she knows she’s speaking and it seems to cause a jolt through her entire body as if she’s shocked herself. “How truly bizarre that something so beautiful is already extremely dead by the time we have our moment to wish upon it.” No one speaks like her. No one holds the same comforting tone that her velvet tongue and throat produce when working together. The word choice is key. They aren’t normally extravagant or large in letter count, she just tends to cherry pick the ones that sound like they simply belong strewn together.
“I mean, we as people get so worked up over funerals and having to see those we care about die, but no one seems to be weeping for the death we’re consistently surrounded by due to the harsh reality that is life. It’s all. Just. Nature. Running its course.” My head rolls instinctively toward her to to watch the end of her sentence leave her lips. Watching someone’s thoughts and words end at exactly the same time is something pure and couldn’t be traded for any amount of money. There’s a look in a person’s eye that says “yes, that was what I wanted for that moment. I actually did it.”
“Does that make sense?” Her head lulls to the side and her eyes bore holes into me, begging for some sort of response. I have been too distracted narrating her every move in my exhausted, broken mind to come up with something interesting or equally macabre but honest. Even now I’m slightly astounded by how she chooses to tuck some hair behind her right ear when there’s just as much hair flowing freely in her face from the left side. It dances along her jagged cheek bones and stops to dance at her thin lips like gentle brush strokes. I imagine it adding a little color to her otherwise neutral pallet. I have next to nothing in my arsenal. Stars. Death. Loved ones. Uuuh…
“I have a feeling most people don’t think on the level that you do. Your acknowledgement of other beings existence and how they’re just as important as yours is something special.” A sigh I had been holding on to dribbles out and I allow my head to swivel freely back to its previous position, staring blankly into the stars. “Not to feed the ego you don’t have but I think that’s truly a big part of it. Life is a ride and you take it for exactly that. It’s not as easy for some.”
I listen as leaves crunch wildly beneath her skull, littering the grass and creating a chorus beneath us. She seems to glow in the nights cloak, her pale skin vibrant against everything except the stars she’s talking about. Her eyes flutter shut again and I am left disappointed in myself. “I have such a hard time taking comfort in that though. I wish it were enough. I really do,” and I believe her because again her thoughts and words come together. Simultaneously she is thinking and speaking and it’s just too. Honest to not hurt. The words fall in the moment and there’s something about the way the end of them sound like a tiny exhale that feels all too real. Too vulnerable and soft. Too truly sad.
The space between us falls silent and cold, a breeze picking up as the night around us grows darker. My coffee is cold but I bring it to my lips regardless, resting on my elbows to sip at it. When in doubt, do something that prevents you from speaking at a time when nothing you have to say matters. That’s what I always say…
I can’t comfort her the way her voice comforts me. I wish I could. I wish it were enough.