Always, the heart leaps up, up, up, and she sinks her teeth into her lower lip and swallows it down, down, down. A girl who swallows her heart and lets it swim around in her stomach with the greasy hamburger and fries. Have you ever met someone like her before? Oh but you have. You just don’t remember her. She is the faded wallpaper, the blurry background whooshing blindly away as you rush off to class, the white noise in the canteen, the one you can’t pin down because she fits in and doesn’t fit in. She is the one you don’t notice because she isn’t loud, or funny, or breathtakingly gorgeous. She is the one you don’t notice because she isn’t a threat. She isn’t in your way; she doesn’t take up your space or your world. But nonetheless, you have met her before. You do remember her. Just a little perhaps.
You remember her sitting all by herself, at a table by the window in the corner of the long cafeteria. Her pale piano-graceful kind of fingers played around with a metal fork and that look in her glassy eyes… How do you put it? It was as if she couldn’t stand the sight of her food, as if she knew, that if those two glossy cheerful egg yolks broke, her world would break too. So it didn’t come as a surprise to you, when the silver tip of her fork pricked the frail transparent skin of her Sunny Side-up open, and the sticky yellow liquid swarmed out in a rush. It didn’t come as a surprise to you too, when a single tear drop fell from her dark black lashes onto her plate. She had no appearance of a girl who was crying. She was muted and her body was equally silent- no clacking of her black heels, no cracking of her knees or bending of her knuckles into a fist, no heavy breathing sounds. She held everything back with the straightening of her bones, neatly and elegantly aligned like a swan with the slow graceful arch of her neck.
There was order in this chaos, you thought, intrigued. She continued to stare at the mess on her plate and it looked like she was about to throw up. Maybe she was sick. Maybe she was pregnant. You wondered what was wrong with the damn girl. But maybe sometimes everything is wrong, every little thing, until you totally lose 'it', and you have to pull the thin strings of your past memories together in order to weave out a reason for your self-destruction.
After a few minutes the interest and amusement died a fast fatal death. You forgot about her completely. You went back to biting your straw conscientiously and sipping the last drops of Coke. Pop music wafted in and danced your opinions away. The last you heard were the tiny golden bells of the exit doors jingling softly.
The writer put down his pen. There were teeth marks on it because he chewed it whenever he was thinking. His last thoughts were: What would it take for us to approach a person we don't know? Think of all the people who pass us by. Think of how, if we could break down all these social norms, if we could risk being seen as crazy or insane, if we could get to know all these strangers, we would live such rich lives.
Maybe someday, as familiar strangers, we will sit down and have a drink together. Tea? Coke? Coffee. I will watch you, the girl who swallows her heart, nibble on a biscuit- you don't like to eat, but you like to do something while you're talking so you don't feel too awkward- and we'll find out that we have more in common than we ever thought we had.
Meanwhile, allow my imagination to piece you together. I will give you a name, a character, a life beyond your wildest dreams, and you will stroll languidly around in the blossoming garden of my mind. I will shower you with petals of lavish details and sweetly decaying affections, as if you were a perfectly manicured porcelain vase. When you become too good to be true, I will smash you with a hammer and let your beauty, raw and unencumbered, scatter freely over the face of this brown earth. You will love me, love the lousy jokes I ramble loose because you know that everything I say, I say so I can watch you break into melodious laughter. And when it rains, you will open up a big red umbrella, and you will wait for me with a small secretive smile on your painted lips.