A longing for something different

For the more than this competition.

When I was a child we couldn't have been closer but time forces people apart, circumstances change, people change and boredom can be one of the worst forces for change there is.


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6. Something more- Alice

The small train platform was practically empty when I saw her. She was hemmed in by a couple of impatient business men, in immaculate black suits, and a woman her face smothered in scarily pale foundation and whose false eyelashes were so unnaturally long that they almost hid the colour of her eyes. The only other person in sight wore a bright pink tracksuit; a cigarette in her mouth. I didn’t look at the woman I had come to meet because I could only remember the child. The train was about to stop and every millimetre it moved forward was one step closer to talking to her again. Even now every time I blink I relive that moment- putting my novel in my handbag, glancing at my reflection in my compact mirror, kneeling down to pick up the petrol receipt that had fluttered out my bag, staring in horror as Melanie threw herself in front of the train.

 

I knew our meeting wouldn’t go smoothly. I might have said something which alienated her or been too affectionate or maybe she’d think that getting her a present and booking a table in her favourite restaurant were little more than pathetic ways of getting her attention. Any of those scenarios would have resulted in her storming off. But I hoped that we’d be lucky and actually enjoy lunch together, perhaps we could have even gone ice skating afterwards. I knew that whatever had happened we would run out of things to talk about and there would be awkward silences and I was prepared for feeling disconnected and out of sync with her.

 

Spending time with her had always been precarious; days out had nearly always turned sour, yet there were so many perfect moments along the way. Some people said she had an attitude problem. She was often rude, disobedient childish, moody, aggressive, needy and the idea of playing to someone else’s rules never occurred to her. In rare flashes of rage she didn’t care how deeply she hurt someone- she would twist your harmless words to create a sword which she would then plunge into your back before she ripped you to pieces.

 

But mostly Mel was outrageous, fearless hilarious, bold, brilliant, insane, reckless, beautiful, refreshingly honest and up for everything. Spending time with Mel was achieving things you never thought were possible, running into the sea when you were dressed for a wedding, speaking the truth however unpopular, facing your most petrifying fears, daring to tell intimidating people your opinion, feeling the burn of your muscles when running miles without stopping, watching the world at the top of a 50m rollercoaster before screaming with pure enjoyment as you plummeted, laughing until your face ached and your stomach hurt, it made you feel part of something more, the pinnacle of happiness, moments too perfect to capture with a mere camera.

 

I thought I had to accept that that girl was gone- that an empty shell with a pale face and mindless robotic actions was all that was left. But today has proven that she is still there causing trouble doing crazy things that might well get her killed and this time very nearly succeeding. When she was only nine years old she asked something that has spider webbed in my brain; each new thought I have connected to it creating a new silken strand, the web capturing any unrelated ideas and draining the life out of them. Just 2 questions “haven’t you ever felt like there has to be more? Like there’s more out there somewhere, just beyond your grasp, if you could only get to it?”

 

I didn’t know the answer then and until recently I was certain I never would. But now listening to the steady beep of the heart monitor; staring at Melanie’s pale face- her petite nose recently reshaped, her numerous freckles mingling with delicate black stitches, the bright kaleidoscope eyes unopened, I know that for me there is nothing else. My entire world consists of four white washed walls, the stench of disinfectant and a cheap duvet covering the mangled limbs of a girl who was stupid and reckless enough take LSD and to jump in front of a train; but who deserves to spend more time with the people who love her.

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