It was hardest at night.
When the moon took over the sky, she couldn’t cope. Not with Nathaniel’s arms cocooned around her, his sweet Altoid breath browsing her skin with each exhalation.
She just couldn’t cope.
Dishonesty had a way of eating at your interior, deteriorating your soul until there was nothing left of you but Empty. These lies on top of lies on top of … more lies, had simply hollowed her. This guilt was digging a grand canyon day by day. She hated regret, hated the missteps that happened when she chose want over gut.
“You awake?” Nate’s groggy voice filtered into her ear through the thick beige comforter pulled tightly over it. His body on the outside, tightly formed to hers. No matter what the weather, he hated sleeping under the covers.
He shifted, leaned his concerned forehead to her cheek. “Something wrong?”
“No.” Attempts at full sentences failed, wetness gathering anytime she’d tried to have a real conversation with him in the last week.
She was depleted of all will. A well of emptiness about to run over.
Each time her cell rang, she nearly jumped. Anticipating the inevitable call from Nigel had her almost shaking, worry chasing through her veins like a bitter shot of whiskey. She didn’t know if she should be more concerned that he hadn’t called, or that he would. That she’d had to leave a message so impersonal, so desperate, on his voice mail, left her fighting tears and the urge to spill all to Nate, just to spite Nigel.
Who had she become? This jittery, nervous, timid woman was not her. She used to laugh at fear until it bowed its head. The concept of being unsure of oneself was all but foreign to her once upon a time. So brash, so confident in her perception and grasp of the world around her. Her former self, the assertive badass she once was, seemed only a vision she’d dreamed up, now.
Telling him she’d not had the abortion via phone hadn’t been her choice. She’d only wanted to talk to him. To be so demeaning, to not even acknowledge the fact that she was calling, and calling, and calling again, was too much. Nathaniel’s loving stare only made it worse, torturous and soothing all in one.
It was selfish to decide not to have the baby. It was a selfish decision to keep it. But what was she supposed to do? Either way, someone would end up hurt. Either way, a heart would break. The sweat rushing down her temples as she lay in that too-cheery hospital room that bleak morning had forced her to run to the nearest exit.
She wasn’t supposed to do it. She couldn’t.
The night before, lying in the guest room in Nina’s home, the one that still smelled of the cinnamon her mother used to infuse the house with, she’d dreamed of a beautiful little boy, with midnight skin and brass eyes, a mesmerizing combination of both Nigel and Nathaniel. A little boy staring at her with eyes that drew her close, whispered to her that he already, Was. He wasn’t a zygote. Not a spec in a sac of fluid like she’d been telling herself. He was a manchild, destined to one day call her mommy and look at her with that same serious stare Nigel had cast so often since being made aware of the life in her womb.
Not for the lack of trying, she couldn’t abandon that image the next morning. It followed her closed eyelids, and when they opened she saw him curled in the posters on the wall informing her of her right to choose. She knew in her heart, looking at the pretty doctor, staring at her name tag, that she’d already chosen.
She now knew with acute certainty that she was carrying a boy. A boy that could be some young woman’s husband, father. Her son could grow up to love a woman like her. A woman who would know what it meant to be irreplaceable. To be truly loved. She couldn’t be so cruel to deny him the world. She couldn’t be so selfish to deny the world of him. In her womb could be the man that would save a young girl like her from herself, when she couldn’t even imagine sky above her on a clear day.
Her son would be to someone what she never fully had. Everything she’d want a man, no, a human being to be. A better man than Nigel. A better person than she.
His name would be uttered amongst royalty. She was nurturing a King.
“You can’t use my phone. I hope you know that.” Mara stared at Nigel’s cell lying in pieces amid the glass rubble formerly known as a vase.
Her usual sarcasm was ill-placed. He was not in the mood. Salt in a wound was not what he needed right now.
“I’m good.” He let her words fall on the bed as he stood, leaving her sitting there. “Have you seen my shirt?”
“You’re obviously not good Nigel. Come here. What did you hear on that message?” She extended a lanky arm, lean muscle stretching, still reflective of the days of endless ballet classes.
“No, really. I just want my shirt.”
“You’re such a runner.”
“Can’t a man want to be alone? Shit.”
His shirt came hurdling to him. “Of course. You, are a runner, though. Go talk to the woman. You’re obviously upset.”
“I don’t care about any of that anymore. I’m moving, remember. They can all kiss my ass.”
Mara sent her eyes up into her head and down again dismissively. “You don’t mean that. You’re not one of those assholes I date. You’re a good man, despite your egregious ass acts. You have a heart. And I’m willing to bet that heart is telling you to go see that woman. And talk to your brother. Man up Nigel. You’re fucking his wife, for Christ’s sake.”
Nigel snatched his coat up, anger flinging across the spacious hotel room as he took one last look around. He needed to vacate before his anger cost her another room damage fee. He’d almost forgotten about Mara’s inability to see the intimated stop signs of a man’s body language. Or rather, her complete disregard for them. Her mouth had been the source of more than a few “problems” he’d had to handle for her at Columbia.
“Thanks for such helpful fucking advice right now.”
He’d opened up too soon. This Mara was not the one he’d been so close with. He couldn’t blame her for changing though. With time, it was inevitable. She’d been harboring anger at him for years, an intractable grudge holding her back from ever loving him like she’d done before. Stunting their friendship to a time when studying was the major of their concerns.
He held her tight, close, before he left. Smelled the brown strands of silk on her head. Committed her perfect face to the part of his memory only meant for reminiscing on good times. Knew this first time in a long time was also likely the last time they’d see each other in this capacity, if at all.
She didn’t ask him to keep in touch. He didn’t offer.
The soft thud of an MGM Skyloft door was their goodbye. What happened in Vegas always stayed just that.
“Someone’s sitting there.” A young girl with cherry Kool-aid hair and too-bright blue nails flicked her eyes rudely from Nigel to the seat he was descending on. Her words didn’t stop his Levis from meeting the cushion.
So. That was exactly how he felt at this moment. Right now, he didn’t care about anyone, anything. Fuck them all. So disgusted was he with his situation that he hated everyone with ovaries, even a young white girl with blue nails. Waiting for Jade in this grand hotel lobby was already straining his nerves. His life was becoming one big joke these days. He’d waited a week to contact her after hearing the message, needed to let some of the heat rise from him, cool his hot anger off. And he’d cooled alright. Maybe too much. He tried to fight the coldness slowly encasing his heart, he tried to care, but he just … didn’t anymore. The layers of his emotional entrenchment with Jade had been shedding like reptile skin, slight and imperceptible even to him, until now.
The realization that he no longer cared like he once did was abrupt, jarring. He felt only disgust. Pity. Regret for ever involving himself with such a conniving woman.
The old apathetic Nigel he’d worked so hard to discard was reemerging.
Jade seemed to float down the long hall leading to the atrium, weaving around numerous members of camera crew as he watched her near him. A royal green dress gracefully poured over her belly and down to mid-calf like handmade drapery. It’d been almost a month since he last saw her. The mound resting under her dress sobered him. It was so real. So there. A person growing inside of her. A real person who would never know his real father to be that.
Jade paused in front of him. Frozen. Here they stood, finally within presence, her nerves like electric blue cords running with anxiety. She fiddled, folded her fingers into each other to give them something to fuss with besides rubbing her hair into place, smoothing her dress.
He stared at her, a null, quiet space where there used to flow such intense love. She was just Jade now. Just a woman.
“Nigel.” Her voice was softer, quieter than he remembered, like the sass had been cold knocked out of her. He stood up from the soft lavender chair he sat in, walked with her to a quiet corner in the hotel Nathaniel and their father would later be honored at for their contributions to its new business center.
“I can’t talk long.” He was gruff, impatient, once they’d stepped into a conference room known as The Presidential Quarters. He let the door stay open, gave himself a buffer of reality in case his loins overtook his common sense.
“I’m sorry, Nigel. I just … I just couldn’t.” Her eyes detoured, avoided his. Moved to the wall behind him adorned with Lincoln, Kennedy, Roosevelt; the high-backed leather chair his left hand rested on.
Nigel’s head shook, leaned towards the ceiling and back down, before he finally spoke. “I’m not interested in the details. What’s done is done. Or … undone. It’s fine. I’m out of your way.”
“I don’t know what to do anymore, Nigel.”
“You know that if he did a DNA test, they wouldn’t be able to tell who the father is between me and Nate. So, just go about your life. Don’t worry about me. He’ll never know.” Fatigue had settled in. This whole situation had overstayed its welcome in his life, in his heart. He was done. Done with it all.
“I know very well how twin DNA works, thank you.”
“Oh, don’t I know it.”
Her syrupy eyes tried to pry into him, tried to reach him one last time. Hands went to her belly as if to shield it from his words. Pregnancy had softened her.
He shifted his head, looked away from her pain.
No matter how much he wanted this to be over, he’d loved her for so long, so intensely, he didn’t like seeing the ring of sadness encircling her eyes. Didn’t like the arousal he’d experienced upon her entrance to the lobby. Hated that he was so fucking attracted to her, even after this. After all of this.
She reached her ringed hand towards his, hurt seizing her eyes when he pulled back before she could touch him.
“It isn’t like you to be this cold to me, Nigel.”
“Well, now it is.”
In the last six years, Nathaniel to become an expert at keeping his composure. Back straight, assured hazel gaze, hands and voice steady and confident, just like the trained politician he was. Skinny crimson tie hanging over a crisp white shirt, cuffed at the sleeve. Always “on.”
No fits of rage, no sudden outbursts of emotion. Those were left in the days of yester-year.
But, he didn’t like this.
Didn’t like how close the two of them were standing, the intimacy of their body language, like a secret was being exchanged, kept. Didn’t like the pained look on Jade’s face, the anger painting his brother’s. He’d come down after Jade, thinking something was wrong. She’d been acting so odd the last few weeks, almost recoiling under his touch, unable to hold eye contact for more than a few seconds. Watching her eyes collect light and reflect it back in dancing twinkles as she told him about her day had long been one of his favorite things to do. Something was off. He didn’t like watching this scene, knowing they didn’t know he was watching. It seemed as if they were arguing. But what about?
He contemplated walking over, approaching casually as if he’d just happened upon them. He thought about taking the direct approach and marching over to their quiet, conflicted corner with brows raised, expectant. His tendency for immediate anger might have been quelled, but still, the embers smoldering in his gut watching this scene were telling him something wasn’t right. Jade had been acting so strange, so disconnected, that he kept arriving at the ludicrous assumption that she’d been sharing the rights of their marriage, her vow to him, with another man.
Even thinking about it sent a sharp pain spiraling through his chest. Daggered him. The mother of his child, cheating? Jade was the love of his life. She couldn’t do that, wouldn’t. She’d done so much to get him, it’d be foolish to give it all up for some man who was undoubtedly less of one than he.
He watched a while longer, noting the pained pauses she took, the way she grasped for his arm, the way he walked avoided her touch. Her soulless eyes told him something wasn’t right.
Something was going on. Something foul. He was damn sure going to find out what.
“Everything alright?” His Chief of Staff, Brian, was behind him, eyeing the choke hold he didn’t realize he had on his phone with a wary eye.
He decided to stay where he was. Whatever his wife and Nigel were discussing could wait until after he’d addressed the crowd. There were a lot of important people watching him today, and he couldn’t afford to have a scene be made this evening. He’d just make sure everything was alright.
Nate tapped the screen, dialed a number. “Yeah. And if it isn’t, it will be.”
“It doesn’t matter anymore, Jade. I’m done with this. I really, truly do not care, I’m sorry. I think it’s best we just remove ourselves from each others lives. This shit isn’t healthy. You wanted Nathaniel, remember? You did all that shit to get him, to get me back, and you did it. You got what you wanted, remember? You win.” His tone was cold, harsh, deliberate. Pangs of guilt coursed, racked his body as the words left his mouth, but he needed to drive his point home. Needed her to not want anything to do with him anymore.
Now the tears came, spilled down her cheeks, leaked years of stupid decisions, dripped onto her protruding belly. Her hands found their way to her jet black pixie cut, planted there in frustration. “How can you say that to me? You know it’s always been you I wanted. Always you, Nigel.” Her voice was a whisper, nearly unable to leave her throat.
She was broken. Shattered into a thousand pieces right before his eyes. He was sure the life growing in her stomach was the only reason she could still stand. The baby was the only thing holding her together.
“Because I mean it, Jade. I mean it with such sincerity it’s almost unfathomable, even to me, but I mean it.” He ran an exasperated hand over his face, checked the time on the watch below it.
Nigel’s phone buzzed then, interrupted him. He hoped it was something important, something that would give him a reason to leave this uncomfortable room.
Nathaniel. He looked at it for a while, watched it buzz three times. He didn’t answer.
A call that only further confirmed the reality of this situation, the seriousness of this offense. Brewed his anger again at himself, at Jade, at his life in its current state. It was hard to believe he’d let himself slip this far.
“And what will I tell your child? Your son?”
“Not my child. Your child. Nate’s child. His son!” He hissed, jabbing a finger toward his phone.
Her head snapped sideways, as if some invisible hand had pushed it with a loud smack. The words spat at her with such conviction she could almost feel the sting on her cheek. She knew she deserved every one of the painful remarks he was piling on.
She also knew Nigel was nothing close to innocent in this. Nowhere near just a bystander. She’d not just tied him down and gotten pregnant. Hadn’t forced him to disrupt her life with Nathaniel, a life she’d thought was happy. He was just as guilty, just as wrong in his betrayal of Nathaniel.
She swatted the tears away with a quick brush of her hand. No more. She had no more. No more to give to this man. This time, she met his eyes. An arid, blank stare gazed into the darkness of his irises. “You are being a horrible, horrible man. And it will not go without karma getting her just do, Nigel.”
Her words were dismissed with a flick of his hand. “You’re educating me on the laws of karma?” The corners of his mouth curled into a smirk. “That’s funny.”
He cut her off. “Honestly, it’s better this way, you know? You can go and have your happy life with Nate, and I’ll do what I do.”
“Do what you do? Run, right.”
“No. Fuck beautiful women, freely and without discretion. This love shit? Not for me.”
Her chest went concave, gasped to replace the air his words had just taken from her. “I can’t believe you. Last month you were crying. Crying because I wanted an abortion. Now you’re acting as though you want to be rid of us?”
“There’s no us.” His eyes shot around the room. He was bored with this conversation, with her. He was tired of giving a damn. Tired of his heart feeling like it was in a grinder. He’d simply shut off. A natural gift he’d been born with, the ability to remove himself emotionally from a situation like the flick of a switch. An ability Jade had somehow disabled for all this time.
A gift he was happy to reclaim.
“Goodbye my almost lover, goodbye my hopeless dream…” The awkwardly appropriate music played in the corners of the room. Nigel’s eyebrows went up. “Hm. Well there you have it.”
“This isn’t funny Nigel.”
“At all.” He took a step back. “I have to go.”
“Ask me if I love you.” She stared into him, past his eyes, into his soul, bypassed the barrier he’d erected. “You ask me if I love you every time I see you. Ask me today.”
“I’ve gotta go, Jade.” His voice bent a little, expressed the sinking inside. He didn’t want to entertain this, willed the feeling away with clenched teeth. He turned, took another step towards the door.
“Ask me, Nigel.”
And just like that, he was back in a lowly lit hotel room lying under a high penthouse ceiling, an onyx interruption on a bed of plush white down. Jade was atop him, breasts adorned in a blue lacy number he was calculating how long he’d wait to remove. “Do you love me?” He asked, gazing up at her, drinking in a face he swore he could never get tired of.
Her mouth, full, open in a bow, smiled. “You know I love you.”
“I do. I just like to hear that you know it, too.”
She leaned her smile to his, kissed him softly along his angles again and again. He couldn’t remember a day he’d been so happy, so desirous of a woman. Even the coldest of hearts warmed when love that sweet wrapped itself around it. That day, a long, steamy one filled with intense lovemaking and whispered affirmations.
The day they conceived the child that would cause this tumultuous separation.
“So long, my luckless romance. My back is turned on you…”
The song, this horribly appropriate song, pierced his thoughts, brought him back to the present. Returned him squarely in front of her intense eyes, asking him to remember the time. He remembered. If he could pull an Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind right now though, he would. He’d erase her completely.
“Don’t do this, Jade. I have to let go.” He paused, air deflating like a weary balloon, he folded her hands in his. “And you need to do the same. We can’t be. I think we both know this. And as much as this hurts, it’s best for everyone.” He placed a hand on her stomach, felt the life he’d helped create, one last time. “Everyone.”
He’d thought he couldn’t feel anymore pain, that’d he’d hit bottom a few weeks ago. He was wrong. Pain spilled, filled the air around them, seeped into the crevices in each corner. He couldn’t breathe.
“Should’ve known you’d bring me heartache, almost lovers always do…”
They’d had too many of these moments. Too many hail marys launched from his lips or hers, last attempts to salvage this … whatever it was. Too many times one heart had turned away from the other, only to desperately come running back.
Her gaze broke, found the ground. She slipped her hands from his. “Go, then.”
She didn’t look back up until he was well into the parking lot. His life was becoming a series of fucked up goodbyes.
This boring, dying city was her home now. She’d gone to the airport and picked the first departing flight she saw.
Starting over was starting to be a regular part of her life. Moving, loving, ending. Then starting the whole thing over again in a new city, desperately trying not to become the jaded, scorned woman with a heart ravaged with battle scars like her mother. She refused.
The air was somehow different here. It wrapped around her lungs like an overbearing husband, suffocated her already. It’d only been 48 hours. 48 hours since she’d be comfortably sitting in her grape drenched kitchen, sipping wine in the nook of her sofa.
She wanted Nigel to call.
Her phone had only sat there lifeless, stubborn. No word from him at all.
Wash, rinse, repeat, lose.
She was always the girl who lost. Never the one who got the last name.
She’d been a fool to think otherwise.
She needed a new outlook. A new life. One that didn’t follow her with shadows of a past that spoke of sliding down disinfected poles and musty single dollar bills. One that didn’t remind her of the previous life she desperately wanted to outrun. She already knew what needed to be done. The balance in her account seemed unreal. This money, this bribe money from what had to be the craziest bitch alive, would change her life.
It’d change everything. She was going to make sure of it.
“You sure you want this?” The kind doctor asked, silver hair lining his edges like tinsel on eaves. His face was imperceptibly youthful. She wondered if he’d had work done or if God had given him such a chiseled face. He looked like he bathed in Evian and ate berries from the Garden of Life. He looked like money. She wanted to look like money.
She was absolutely sure.
“Yes.” She said, smiling.
“So … nose, chin, eyes. Very small incisions will be placed here, here,” he slid gloved fingers along her face in three points, “and here.” He stopped then, studied her for a long time. “I know it’s my job to tell you everything that is wrong with you, that something needs to be fixed, but the truth is, you don’t need me to fix anything. You’re very beautiful.”
Rosy threads flushed up his perfectly tanned face and down his neck, his own boldness seeming to impress and embarrass him all at once.
“Thank you,” she eyed his ring-less left hand, noted the glints of admiration in his eyes. “But I don’t want to not look like me, I just want to look like a perfect me.”
“Ah.” he nodded, the glint in his eye toning back to a business dull. “It will take 4 days until the pain subsides. Two weeks to two months until you’ll see the full effects.”
She nodded, thoughts of her fresh new life and new look consuming her mind.
“Ah, she joins us finally.” a nurse’s voice echoed through the fog, seemingly far away.
“Am I alive?” Jade heard her voice floating out as if she were under water, then a throb pierced through the sedation. Hints of vanilla floated in the air around her, otherwise smelling of sterility and cold.
“Of course you are. Do you have someone to drive you home?” The nurse, she could tell, was cute. Her hair had struck Jade right away when she walked into the bright office this morning for her procedures. Jet black, cut in tiny layers, with a bang that jetted out like a cliff over right eye and bridge of her nose. Bold, fun, funky, yet still elegant, without trying to hard. It was perfect. She was inspired. She’d told her as much, too.
“I need a mirror.” She stretched her arm out, pulled it back in front of her face when she felt cold plastic touch her palm.
A mummy. A zombie-mummy, with black eyes, swollen lips, and long honey brown hair. This was not what she had signed up for.
“Give it a few days, swelling will go down. ”
“I hope so.” She tried to laugh but the swelling wrapped her face in its tight grip, her words marbled and lips sore. Still, she managed, “Can I take a picture of your hair before I leave?”
“My God, woman.”
His hands were thick, veins protruding in rebellion under smooth skin and neglected nails. Upon first glance, you’d label them blue collar.
Until you witnessed them work.
Nimbly, gently, yet firmly skating across her body, landing at her hips, the intensity, applying pressure in grips, urgency in fingerprints. Always artful, knowing. Smooth operators.
A doctor’s hands.
She’d never been with an older man before Dr. Saroyan. Was this why so many girls from her previous life of smokey rooms and skin let the men who’d lived long enough to call them daughter take them home? They stayed planted in rotations longer than even celebrities, and lonely men with no families and loads of disposable income to blow.
It felt good to be Jade again. In control and so sure of what she wanted. Nigel had been a detour, a hiccup. She should send a thank you note to the woman she’d forever refer to as The Bitch.
Sixty thousand dollars wasn’t a lot of money.
But sixty thousand dollars had opened doors to a lot of money. To wake up and see your bank account go from five-thousand to sixty-thousand overnight, was a powerful feeling. It gave her an inkling of hope, of possibilities. It allowed her to think creatively, to craft a plan and a new life.
Thus far, she’d done just that.
In the few months living in Detroit, she’d learned more than ever that money, attracts money. No one had to know that her well wasn’t an overflowing sea of residual income. No one knew that this was her starting point. All they knew was that she could afford what she wanted, by herself. And that was all the information they needed.
She was becoming a master of reinvention.
To Dr. Jivan Sorayan, she wasn’t a dancer collecting sweaty bills in a musty building with “Daddy’s House glowing above it in offensive blue neon. She was Jade Monroe, small business owner, portfolio extraordinaire, and soon to be graduate of the University of Michigan. At least two of those were true, and that was good enough for now.
“I love.” His voice was gruff, exhausted. A weekend spent making love under his plush covers, as white as cotton balls and just as soft, was showing his age.
“Well, it was exactly what the doctor ordered.” She smirked, slid glossed lips up his nude body and to his mouth, let him taste remnants of his magic.
He traced his finger along the now slightly sharper bridge of her nose, a small smile spreading on his face.
“Your work, or me?” Jade snuggled her face onto the fine gray-black hairs sprouting from his surprisingly firm chest, smoothed it with her hand, over and over. He became a cat during these moments, purring, whimpering at her slightest touch.
“Both.” He was whispering, eyes closed, enjoying her fingers softly play.
She put her lips there now, kissed it with the touch of a feather. He fondled her short tresses, the new jet black cut with the jetted bang.
“What are you doing to me?”
She smiled. That was becoming her favorite phrase. The power in being a sexy woman was undeniable. Her mind flashed briefly to a midnight-skinned man with swaying locs and onyx eyes.
He used to say those very same words.
She wondered, during still moments, what he was doing. If he still hated her, if he still loved her. They hadn’t spoken since that day in her living room, the image of him shutting down, all feelings draining like color from a painting right before her eyes, still hurt when she let it, still a ebbed with ache when she sat still for too long.
She knew not to though, not to give it space to grow and fester. She knew to focus on the here and now. On her new life.
She kissed the good doctor again. “Whatever I want.”
Her house was silent save for the quiet hum of the stainless steel Kenmore in her open kitchen, and Jivan’s soft snore. The condo she’d furnished compliments of Jivan after a particularly steamy night, was modern, spacious, full of whites, blacks, creams. Accented with pops of color that made her home actually feel like home.
She missed the buzz of New York, the exciting array of people, the mass transit when she didn’t feel like driving. She missed the California sun, high and confident, ruling the sky and temperatures nearly year round.
But this, was nice.
Peace. The kind of peace that someone whose life was normal, not full of drama, experienced.
Ever so often she got up at 3am, walked into her office, blew a kiss to the poster of Lauryn Hill above the desk.
How you gon win when you ain’t right within?
It was a reminder, a life motto she’d adopted to remind herself to choose peace. To stay right, within. To never go back go back to that person she was. Peace, above all.
Her iMac whirred on, its sleek screen illuminating the room in a soft blue glow.
Midnight marked March 15th. Her birthday.
She did what she’d been doing for the last seven years since that fateful day she’d discovered the documents that stole what she knew to be true about herself, that deleted Jade Monroe’s whole existence, in her father’s dark cherry liquor cabinet that’d been turned into a home for her mother’s nice dishes. The one he pretended not to know she “borrowed” from sometimes when she was a teenager.
She woke at 3am, she remembered that day.
Her Myspace home page was a harsh white against her eyes. She winced, let her pupils constrict, eyes adjust to the brightness.
Her fingers knew the rhythm by heart. Knew what she would type before her brain could give the command.
Melanie Joy Jones, they typed, clicked search. On her screen appeared a private profile, a pretty, beaming face with long silver earrings sparkling on either side. A face that displayed Jade’s nose, her eyes. her lips. A face shockingly identical to her own, even now, with her new refined features.
March 15th. Just one month before, she’d joined this site and immediately searched the name she’d been typing in searches across the internet for the last four years.
She moved her mouse, hovered it over the ‘Add To Friends’ link beneath her profile. Fear gripped her just as it had that day, had her trembling before she could press the button. Thinking about how her life would change, how shocked this stranger would be to know that there was another her roaming only a few states away. Communicating with the woman beaming at her from her computer screen would make it too real.
She couldn’t do it. She didn’t know if she’d ever be able to.
“Happy birthday, sis.” She stared, brown eyes glazing over the loss of a life she never lived, a love she never knew.