I saw her today for the first time in a while. She passed me on the street, and before we were close I could see her eyes flicker with recognition she tried to hide, a quick blush falling to her cheeks; she remembered, but she was trying not to show it.
Suddenly, she turned and crossed the road, her steps gaining pace as she put distance between us. I stopped and watched her anxious departing back for a few seconds before turning to move on, and for a while I forgot about her.
It was only when I was sitting absent-mindedly by the duck pond much later that her face flickered before me. While the sun glinted through cracks in the leaves and spilt dappled drops of light across my shirt, I thought of the girl with the bright red hair, the most magnificent storyteller I had ever seen.
She was a girl with a mouth like a crafter’s wheel, spinning enchanting stories laced with gold and wearing them proudly. But when we held these garments to the sunlight they did not glint, but disintegrated in the sun. Nothing more than cheap metal, we watched her tales rust and crumble in our hands.
She was a girl whose stories glided out of her mouth like a midsummer’s breeze, gentle and enticing. They carried the sweet, soft smell of adventure, enticing us with curious eyes that we blindly followed. But they only ever led us to a dead-end path where adventure lay battered and bruised in the soil, an abandoned play-thing from a long finished game.
She was a girl with eyes that glistened when she spoke and danced like fireflies in a sea of midnight every time she opened her mouth. Her stories were like precious gems that she held to her heart like a mother, but when we teased them from her prised fingers, we found they were fakes, only real within her own head.
This girl created extravagant stories like an artist designs their finest piece or a writer fabricates their fantasy world. She painted oceans and starlit skies for us, and for a while so convincingly, until the bulbs began to burst and we realised we were only staring at a faded ceiling. She brought to life a beautiful world that we tried to live in, but we knew this world was a lie even if she didn’t realise it.
I skimmed my shoe across the surface of the water and sighed. The girl had gone too far now; her stories were too impossible, her tongue too powerful. In her constant chase of adventure she’d fallen onto a broken path that was too high to reach even if we’d wanted to. But she was ignorant in her chase, skipping along over cracks and humming a simple melody to herself. And all the while she stared hypnotised at her fake ceiling sky, oblivious to the crumbling path below her. It was only a matter of time before the foundations of her stories caved in, and she drowned in a pit of lies before we ever had a chance of saving her.