I see you, twinkle-twinkle.
What you choose to remember about yourself is the whirly assurance of the manuevering steps you made on the cracked asphalt with annoyingly deep puddles. You were balancing a huge pram with your three-year olds who were either too bored or too cold and were bashing each other on the heads with your empty paper cup. Lots of coffee that morning. You ignored the screaming because your dog did a poo and your umbrella had just gone spikes up and you were multitasking with no grace but impressively full of gumption.
Rob’s new wife is a multitasker, too. He’s moved on a little too quick. “It’s what she would have wanted”. Of course, it’s not what you would have wanted. But you will love him. All these years later he still brings the boys out and points up towards the lucid sky to show them exactly which one you are. He always picks the brightest.
You are a fresh one, ineptly breaking through the thin layer of night clouds, asserting your prominence. Last thing you asked your stone-faced mother was “Will they speak English where I’m going?”. She’d been working on that face for months, determined to not pass on to you any more visible signs of sadness than you could take. There is only so much control a mother can have in saying goodbye to her baby. “Will they speak English where I’m going”, and the stone façade turned to water faster than she answered “I don’t know”.
They don’t. There’s no speaking at all – everyone is sparkling in silence. But the sparkle is so magical you hope your mother will see.
What are you and why are you flickering like you’re thirsty by the millennial glossary definition? Desperate for attention in your irregular flashes and almost orange in colour. Everyone sees you. Still so extra. You never fit in and neither did you want to, but you didn’t expect all those stones either. When your bullies threw them at you, you hoped for a rock to hit you under your skirt and slide inside your mother’s knickers you were wearing. You wanted to feel the pain and pretend it would be akin to losing your virginity, if you had a vagina. For sure you would have ended up with one, had it not been for that one damn stone that missed your genitals by a long shot and went to your head instead.
You had to wait for the ambulance, comfortably laid out on the pavement, because even those who tolerated you didn’t dare touch a freak. You passed away and peaced out in fishnets and a neon blue leather mini. Nice lewk.
Elvis’s star is somewhere out there. You never gave a shit about Elvis until two days ago when your last words came to be as ridiculous as his. “Don’t worry, dad, nothing’s going to happen to me”. You knew your doses, you’d successfully mixed before and, with that experience, a sense of certainty – that you knew precisely what you were doing – was inevitable. Except you didn’t know – a chemical ricochet, an imbalance of molecular power, an impossibility of a sudden seizure. Foam at the mouth no one witnessed, green vomit no one repulsed at, your tongue no one caught before you choked on it.
Like Elvis on paper, so rock-n-roll. Like Elvis in reality, so unglamorous, bloated and really, really sad. And when your father found you, your right side dangling off the bed, he prayed you’d turn into the brightest star. And you knew you couldn’t.
Your sparkle is bleak, almost grey. “Gris” in the language you picked up so many times but never properly learned. “When I have time....”, you thought. Is that not what everyone thinks? In fact, there are plenty of things you didn’t get around to: proposing, buying a dog, being kinder to mum, going up the Eiffel Tower, taking more than a second to look at the night sky. Your would-be fiancée is having her wedding tomorrow, your mother is spoiling your brother’s children, the Tower is still powerfully tall and scattered with live tourists covering their eyes from unbreakable wind.
The world doesn’t miss you, your death is not forgotten but it has not changed those in the orbit of your life. Once a year, you receive a new card on your tombstone – from your best friend Mike – “Shine bright so I can see you, asshole”.