Once, there was a girl here

// identity death, trauma, loss, psychosis, mindfuck

“This is as far as you can go.”

The words sink from your lips like lead weights, like concrete shrapnel, like murder. You take a breath, stumbling and pausing. You feel her bump into you, you feel her softness against your skin. You squeeze your eyes shut and let yourself cry.

You turn back to face her, blinking back your tears. The juxtaposition between the two of you couldn’t be more stark. Your BDUs and her nightgown, mirrored over the face you both share. Wide, curious, fearful, eyes meet eyes filled with pain and weariness. The mirror is breaking.

You wanted to protect her. You shouldn’t have needed to. You both deserved so much better. The mirror is breaking. You wanted to give her a better life than this. You tried so hard to keep her safe. She deserved so much better than this. You deserved so much better than this. None of that changes anything.

“You’re the best parts of me,” you tell her through clouded eyes, smiling sadly, “You’re everything I wanted to keep safe. All our hopes and dreams, everything about us that was happy and bright and shining. I’m so sorry, I failed. This is as far as I can take you.”

“What will you do without me?” She asks, “Who will you be without me?”

“I won’t be anyone,” you say, quietly drawing your firearm, “You’re the person, I’m just what we have to be to survive. I won’t be anyone without you. I’m just another ghost.” The mirror is breaking.

“Will you remember me?” She asks, tears in her eyes, hiding her face behind her stuffie. You nod softly, drawing the slide back and chambering a round on your pistol.

“I could never forget you,” you whisper reverently, “I’m so sorry, I wanted so much more for you than this.”

The mirror is breaking. She’s crying now. You’re both crying. There’s nothing either of you can do, there’s no other way to survive. It hurts so much. She whispers goodbye. The supersymmetry of the moment arrives at its singularity as hope finally runs out. You pull the trigger.

The mirror shatters under your fist with a crunch of glass and blood. You collapse to the floor with a tortured sob, scarcely able to understand the magnitude of pain and loss you feel. She’s gone. It’s your fault. You killed her. She’s gone. She’s gone.

You hug your stuffie, but it doesn’t feel the same anymore. Nothing feels right anymore. She’s really gone. Oh fuck she’s really gone. You did what you had to do to survive. She’s dead because of you. You tried to protect her. You killed her. You killed her. What even are you?

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