"Melanie" is one of the August Writing Challenge entries that was chosen to be a featured story.
The smell of rain streaked through the sweet, summer air, sending chills across my skin. It was a familiar scent, one filled with promise. I enjoyed the moments in which the cool sprinkles of rain would fall from the skies. Contingent on the air, casting rainbow shadows upon the darkened ground. Puddling at the edge of city sidewalks and streaking windowpanes with its iridescent contortion. I found myself staring out the window, in which my reflection showed, as if the window was a mirror. I pressed my lips together, the red makeup smudging across my lips as my fingers thrummed against the typewriter keys, soft clicking echoing in the air as my fingers moved across the keys. Watching the paper inch its way along, ink blossoming upon the cream colored surface the same way my stories did.
I wrote of clocks ticking and hearts breaking, I wrote of warm cafes and crooked glasses, I wrote of sunlight reflecting off camera lenses, and of sweet dreams and shattered glass. I wrote to keep hope, the small flickers of the ethereal essence I kept harbored up inside of me. I stared at the paper, watching the words pause as I lifted my finger from the keys. My heart sank immediately, as if I had just let go of a flotation device which kept me rooted to the ground. I sucked in a heavy breath, drawing myself away from the sweet comforting words, and instead focusing on the cold, hard edges of reality enclosing me. I could still remember my best friend’s last lingering touch as her eyes fluttered, a bittersweet smile playing upon her soft lips. Her last words echoed in my mind, haunting my thoughts, clawing away at my soul, and filling me with a sense of loneliness and sadness I had never felt before.
“Remember me,” she said, squeezing my hand, her manicured nails digging into my soft palm. Even now, I could still feel the heaving sobs echoing in my chest and the tears streaming across my skin. I could still picture her own tears, which spilled over from her eyes when she saw me crying. “When you’ve achieved all the things I can’t anymore.”
I remembered the way her mouth upturned, and the way she focused on me, squeezing my hand tight, her eyes glassy and her words forced. “But don’t feel sad, be happy that you could do it, and tell me, because I will listen.” I remembered the sob that fluttered away from her dying lungs as she gave me a longing look, as if she wanted to stay in this moment forever, like she never wanted me to let go.
“Keep writing,” she had said, her words filled with as much strength as she could muster. “Write of the adventures we shared, write of us conquering evil kings and bitter queens. Write of us laughing over stupid jokes and ex lovers. Write of us as we had been before, or-” She had paused. “Write of me now if you would like.”
She squeezed my hand, her breaths weak and heaving. I hadn’t wanted to think of how many she had left. “Just keep writing of us, like we had when we were little. I don’t want that to be gone, even after I’m gone.” She had smiled at me once more, before her breath faltered in her lungs and her bright blue eyes fluttered shut.
I billowed out a long breath, my fingers returning to the keys as tears stung at my eyes. I didn’t want to think about Melanie, but I didn’t want to forget her. I couldn’t have even if I tried, so I wrote about the two of us. Her as a princess, and then a knight, then a girl sitting at the side of the street playing a guitar. Melanie had been a girl of many colors, many personalities, and she kept true to herself, even as she let out her last dying breaths.
“I miss you,” I said as I typed the words upon the page, interrupting my story. I paused for a moment, staring at those three words, feeling as if they were the most honest words in the world. I pursed my lips, folding my hands, and thinking of Melanie’s warm smile and kind gaze. I thought of all the boys she had teased and all the adventures we had gone through. I thought of her last bright moments and her last kind ones. I thought of her beautiful singing, streaking through the morning air, and I thought of her confidence, which I had always envied. I thought of Melanie. I thought of holding her hand as the last breaths fluttered from her body, and I thought of the writing, I had promised her. I looked to the pile of short stories I kept, all about our adventures. I scooped them up in my arms, holding them close to my chest as tears dropped from my cheeks.
“I miss you,” I said. “I will never forget you.” I closed my eyes. Flashing beneath my eyelids I could almost see her wide smile and the kind glint in her eyes. I could almost hear her playful laughter, one that was infectious to everyone around. I could almost touch her soft hands and put my arms around her shoulders. I could almost pretend Melanie was here with me, but now she only lingered in the words of my writing. Words I had promised her. “I’ll keep writing for you,” I said, sobs filling my system. “I promise.”