If You Are Gone

Everyday she goes through life oblivious of the damage she inflicts upon herself. On the outside she is long and slender, bony and pale, with frizzy fluffs of blonde hair. Bloodshot veins mask the piercing, clear ice green windowpanes she peers out of. On the inside she is hollow and dry. Her stomach gasps for nourishment as it suffocates. But even deeper still hides who she really is. A small, scared child, pure spirited, sits curled in a ball, whimpering to herself as she awaits freedom.
At one time in her life she hungered for hugs and the gaze of those around her. Desperate for an escape, as depression ate away at her, she found sweet relief in cocaine. Now she hides in her sanctuary of drugs and she thinks she is happy. But to her, that is all that matters. After all, did she not live a meager life full of angst and anger before she met "Prince Charming". She lived for herself and no one else. I watch her as she rusts and deteriorates. She does not know it, but what the little girl that lies dormant inside feels, I feel. She appears at school sometimes and manicured girls wearing halos that match their designer jeans turn up their perfect noses and look down at her with sharp gleams of hate in their slit, shadowy eyes. Wading in their shallow lives, they could never understand the depth of the hostile water she lives in daily. I befriended Maggie when we were in junior high school. That was just before she slipped through the cracks completely. I had known from the beginning she was a lost cause, but I fought to push through the glassy blank stares, selective hearing, and thoughts of hopelessness that were close to swallowing her up. It did not matter to her that I was there for her, that I devoted my life to putting her back together. But she haunted me, none the less, and I was determined to not give up. From grade six through grade eight, I made sure Maggie was invited to birthday parties and included her in weekend treks through the mall, and at first she accepted those attempts for a normal life, but slowly she drifted further away from reality. It was not until the start of high school that I and everyone else saw her transforming into her counter-self physically. Rumors swept through the halls as they spilled from the mouths of sheltered, na�ve teens. They were scary, hateful rumors of Maggie's plunge into the icy waters of cocaine. Aware of my friendship with Maggie, they came to me with burning ears, yearning for the sweet ring of gossip, but they always walked away irritated by my lack of information. Deep down, I knew that the rumors were true, but when I looked at Maggie, I saw that frightened young girl inside, pleading for me to save her.
Confronting Maggie was pointless. She would stare lifelessly past me, she was gone. Now years have past by and thoughts of her linger beside me. I wonder what became of Maggie. Did anyone awaken her from that drugged slumber or did cocaine leave her to rest eternally? I latch on to the thought that the little girl, Maggie's spirit, broke free before Maggie starved her. I will always think of Maggie as a sleeping beauty.

Circa 2000


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