The room is dark, thick curtains cover the only window; thin lines of light try to peer from around its edges, but for naught. Victoria has been laying on her bed for God-knows how many hours now. She’s not really counting. Her right hand barely feels the hard plastic of her cellphone anymore. The screen is black, silent, but her sight has rarely strayed far from its crystal frame. A nightstand rests loyal next to her bed, the frame of a photo. Jaggy lines on the lower left corner snake briefly into the frame. Victoria is being held from behind by another woman, both are staring at each other, smiling.
She breathes in deeply, as if waiting, then with an index finger, Victoria presses a button. Light explodes amid the darkness, blinding her for a few seconds, but she’s not startled, not anymore. Alas, as before, no news messages, no calls. Nothing. The shadows around her elongate and twist as Victoria’s fingers brush the screen. Her nails are all blunt around the edges, the skin around is red in many spots, looking bloody under the light.
A subtle fragrance of lilacs floats in the air gently, before it used to drown the room, making Victoria’s head spin, but it felt good. Was good. At the thought, she turns her head with some reluctance towards the other side of the bed. Nothing to remember her by. Not even the sour smell of old sweat. Only lilacs and a blank cellphone screen.
Her memories of how it ended were too fresh, too painful. There had been a display of fireworks on the beach near her place, same as when they met, some celebration or another, Victoria could not honestly say for sure now what it was. But how they met? Somehow, that was more vivid in her mind. She also smelled of lilacs on that day.
Three years ago they had bumped into each other, fireworks exploded high above them. Veronica was eating an ice cream cone which promptly rolled down over her favorite red t-shirt. Of course she had to pick chocolate.
“Ohmigosh! I’m so sorry! I was distracted looking at the fireworks and—here, let me!” Veronica had no idea when a handkerchief had appeared on her hand, dabbing it with some spit while trying to grab ahold of Veronica’s t-shirt.
It was the eyes. Windows to the soul, she heard someone said once. Such a cheesy and trite line. But now that she was staring at those two gray pearls, she couldn’t think of anything else but that. “Ohnonono, itsnoproblem, really!”, she was tripping with her tongue, trying to get the words out as fast as she could: get the obligatory dispensations, then say something else. The tugging at her shirt brought eased her down, though her pulse quickened, “Really! It’s ok, you don’t need to—hey!”
“Don’t move, I’ll be done in a second!” She was scrubbing back and forth over the dark brown stain, her hands were quite long and delicate, but they were holding a strong grip over Veronica’s shirt. She wore a small, shy smile, Veronica thought, that could fit a cute porcelain doll. Dimples appeared on both sides.
Before the rest of her dignity went down the drain, Veronica grabbed the woman’s hand to stop her from cleaning anymore. “Thanks.”, she managed to mumble, blushing slightly, not really sure what had gotten into her. “Gotta go. Sorry.”
“Wait. Can I buy you a cup of coffee at least? I know it’s not much, and I’d be pissed if this had happened to me, so…I’ll feel really shitty if I can’t make it up to you somehow!”
Veronica blushed a bit more, her hand brushed her cheek without thinking. It was very warm. “S’ok, really.”
“Please?” The porcelain doll was now making a sad face. It was unbearable.
“Well…ok, but I take decaf. Otherwise I’ll lay all night with my eyes like an owls.” She extended a hand towards the woman, grinning and feeling slightly like an idiot. “I’m Veronica.”
A twinkly appeared on the woman’s gray eyes and her smile somehow managed to, if possible, turn even more endearing. The fireworks were all but a memory now as they continued to explode. “Small world: I’m Veronica too.”
Veronica felt the woman’s hands hands were a bit calloused, but she did not mind. Not mind at all.
Veronica & Veronica. It seemed funny at the time. Two Vs. That is what she remembered from back then. Now, she was the only one here. She tapped the screen a few times, the sound of an old manual typewriter echoed in the room.
I miss you, my favorite letter.
She pressed SEND, staring at the screen until the light from it dimmed, then, finally, went dark, swallowing her once more.