I am twenty-nine years old.
I have never been kissed. I have never been touched in a way that wasn’t platonic, familial, or, occasionally, drunk and sleazy.
If I died tomorrow there is no one in the world who would mourn beyond a passing, a frown, sad eyes for a few sad days, but then they’d move on, forget me, they have already forgotten me, so my death will only be a momentary reminder, a brief flash of memory that I did exists, but now I am gone, and the instant prickle of regret at that, the polite sadness that a life, any life, is gone. We must mourn when someone dies. Anyone really. A co-worker. A co-worker’s mother we never met. Our sister. Our friend we haven’t seen in ages but we have far-off polaroid memories of them when they were small and we were small and we ran together and there was laughter and the stupidity of youth and it means something that we enjoyed that time together.
So maybe a half-dozen people will cry. Family. They have to cry.
And maybe a baker’s dozen besides will say to the void: what a shame it is that she passed, how young, what a waste, whatever.
But then I will cease.
I will not even exist as a memory, or a thought of a person.
It hardly seems a tragedy to me. I am already so little. I am a wisp of a woman. I am mere air and a handful of letters scattered around the country, deep in desk drawers where they’ve been forgotten, crinkled, smeared. They mean nothing. I am nothing. I have been so very, very careful to be nothing.
And now what?
Twenty-nine years of nothing and no one.
Twenty-nine years of going through the motions. You see my hands move. You see me sludging along on the sidewalk. You see me smile, but my eyes say, “No. Nothing. Who are you? Who are you to me? You must be nothing too. For a nothing can love nothing. It’s too dangerous. It’s too daring. It’s too too. Too close to something real. To close to something that would make me a woman and not a wisp and women bleed, women cry, women hurt like no man has ever hurt and I think sometimes that I am the only person in the world who truly understands pain, who has truly internalized the experience and made it my everything, just one giant, pulsing pain was I and then… Now I am gone. Now I am not.” But I smile so you will see a women. And not be scared of wisps.