He settled back down in his seat.
She got up to leave.
" Hey, Vida, will you stay with me?"
A hand on her sleeve.
" I wanted to go to the cemetery today. I don't want to be alone."
She felt something in her chest tighten. Her mouth opened slightly but she couldn't come up with words to say.
She sat back down.
" I'm sorry that I'm always like this, Vida. Dragging you around because I'm too chickenshit to do anything by myself," he said sullenly, slumped down in his seat.
" I-I... I mean, really, Klaude, I'm the same..." she replied.
" No, you... You're a lot nicer than me, Vi... David's basically the only person that ever really put up with me..."
She looked over at Klaude.
" Honora and I care about you, too," she said.
" It's gonna be a long ride." He seemed to ignore what she said and stared off into the distance.
It was a long ride.
She wasn't sure when, but she fell asleep. She didn't realize she had- she had just been resting her eyes, was all.
And then she was dreaming.
It was a discombobulated slurry of images and voices far too abstract for her to grasp in a dream-state.
Paisley, floral wallpaper, rust, autumn, warm colors, and the distinct way she remembered feeling the first time she put on eyeshadow, smeared on with her fingertips because the little palette was her brother's and he lost the brush in a bathroom stall at a rock concert she didn't get to go to because she had mono, because she grabbed the wrong bottle at a party and that was why she always had a sharpie on hand now, to label her bottles. And then she was soaked to the bone because it was raining and it was so cold.
She went up to the river bank, under the violet sky, and when she looked down into the still water, she could see Klaude- deep, deep down, with a peaceful expression and his eyes closed. He wasn't wearing eyeshadow. His little Aladdin Sane earring was gone.
Please don't cut your hair. It's a part of you. I'll grow mine out for you.
She reached out to the water to pull him up but a hand rested on her shoulder.
Bernini was a Baroque sculptor and sometimes you can feel someone else's smile become engraved on your bones, when they're beautiful enough. Like filigree metal work or the long flowing hair of Edgar Winters. A light, unadorned thing that is still heavy with detail. Ruffly shirts and machined lace on polyester faux-silk, like satin, probably worth three or four dollars at the thrift store. Sixty cents in a different but contiguous time era.
" Verlaine, you should know by now... If he's drowning, let him go."
Her reach faltered.
" But I..."
" Everything and anything that exists or that you do- it's all just a bad dream within a bad dream. The only end of a dream is drowning."
Klaude sank into the water.
" I want to be what he wanted me to be."
Rose gold, like dusk and dawn mixed into one.
" Hey, Vida? Vi? We're here."
She woke up because she heard Klaude's voice.
She was leaning on his shoulder, apparently. He was poking her cheek.
She leaned away from him when she sat up and stood.
" Sorry for falling asleep," she mumbled. She suddenly didn't feel like looking at him. The weird dream was bothering her.
" It's cool, I would've drifted off too if I wasn't like. Paranoid about missing our stop."
They exited the subway.
It was unnatural outside. There was no one else. The stop was seemingly in the middle of nowhere. The only thing was green, rolling hills. She saw a gate off in the distance.
Klaude was walking to it. She realized she had been standing stock still, and jogged a little bit to catch up with him.
It was dusk.
It was the Evans-Arbordale cemetery. He stood in front of the gate and stared up at it for a long time.
" I hate it," Klaude said flatly. " I hate my name and I hate how I feel about them. I hate feeling like this about everything. I hate feeling like it's all my fault somehow. Because I'm not good enough for anyone-"
Vida stepped forward and reached out to him.
" I'm not good enough for my family, so they leave me at home when they drive off to the family reunion and get hit by a semi. I'm not good enough for David, so he makes me sit in the backseat when he's driving drunk even though I was so scared of alcohol and being like my father that I spent five hours at a party with you two completely sober. I hate it, Vida, I hate it because I'm alone, you don't even remember anything, and I may as well be a ghost..."
His outburst trailed off into ugly crying.
" You don't have to be good for someone else to be alive. You aren't a ghost."Return......Next