No One likes, leaves comments, darts through the pages of friends I once saw back when No One was someone I knew. She shows up, the shadow in my tea-cup, that little bit of froth at the edge on the surface, the burn on tongue-tip when I dare take that first sip. No One is the steam rising, threatening, the boiling, the tea kettle scream, the sudden silence after. No One and I were those groggy mornings after long nights of talk. No One and I were sisters of the keyboard, brush, ink, and paint. No One was as fine as white lace, like snow flake crystals magnified, hard and soft, cold and melty, made of linen but the lace could itch at the collar when it got hot. If we had met as children, we would have been the girls who stayed after school in the art room, our hands and cheeks dotted with our fingerprints of tempera. If we had met in the 19th century, we would have been the Soiled Doves in the Old West shuffling about under paper-thin parasols, giggling as if innocent, making the cowboys blush. But instead we met, as many do now, on this spaceship internet, sharing a relationship built upon text and digital photograph, we had each other all stuffed in a box, like dolls we were, enticing each other to come out to play. And we did, we did! It was grand, as any saga is, and our’s was like no other.
Gone now the times with No One. As if she had only existed like someone I had made up. I talked to her like a real person, thought she would stay, she even promised “friends forever” just like we would have, had we been age 9. Yet. The traces of photographs, the evidence that we lived before we murdered each other, can be found all along the roads we took to our secret places. We were the ghosts’ paparazzi, but she with the more ‘excited’ camera and matching tri-pod. I never suspected that No One would someday be one with them in my dreams, roaming all the abandoned buildings, her thin lips a red grapefruit sweet-sour line of pursed persnicketiness. I held on to No One for as long as I could cradle her. The problem was, she forced me to go, and left in a fury.
Instead of making-right, she did the saying-nothing, her talking fingers brutally scratching at me as if I were violating her, as if every effort I made to abandon a fight were an invitation to begin another duel. I could not win a battle she told everyone she had already won, and since No One was the only one there, who would say she was wrong, or that I was right? My every apology was misinterpreted, read as cryptic code to mean something opposite, and all the blame fit perfectly on my shoulders all because I could not be there in person to soothe her temper. My someone became No One the day she no longer saw me as someone. It is how things end that you can’t help but let end. Calling for her just gave me answers of silence. She left me to my scribblings, and even though I no longer gave her a name, I wrote for anyone to see what sorrowed me. And my public sorrows angered her the more. The pain continued the way our joy did, online and in Hell, just as it was in Heaven, undead and breathing.
At war’s end, our poison tongues lashed and strangled each other.
The words we used to bring us together was now the means of our death.
Long after I buried No One in her unmarked, empty grave, I saw No One’s reflection once in the ice… I got stuck on her when I attempted to wipe away the icicles, and as the icicles wept, I gave her a kiss to make her feel better, but my lips told me she was still too cold, that she could no longer be here, and that what I had kissed could only be drunk, and what was drunk was only hard water barely frozen over with a mist on stone, tasting of clay and stone, the gravestone that did not mark her grave, the stone without her name. I dare not speak her name, let alone carve it into stone. Even today she would rage at the thought I am writing of her so, yet how can she damage me more over this? Even as I write her in poetry I can hear her critique me with a hard stare through the metaphors. Yet the grave symbolism would surely make her smile in the way I remember she used to when we were not busy disagreeing over the little things.
No One’s lasting impression does not leave me twitching with hate. Affection remains like snowflakes, like dust, like sprinkles, like lipstick marks, like the aftertaste of black coffee at a rest stop on a late night drive to nowhere just to be somewhere. Whenever I journey now to unknown places, I still feel as if she accompanies me, wishing she was accompanying me, and that all our fighting was just a bad storm that blew away the house that was our home. The damage had made us go our separate ways, but the disaster forced us to rebuild our lives, and when we are all done hammering, digging, redecorating, re-roofing… we’ll come home again for some tea.
I do not linger dreamily over other souls online like I once did with her. I am no longer all anxious to travel and get out to meet people, and write on them all my expectations. Anticipation is exhausting! Rarely do I take invitations to meet-up seriously, only now suspiciously, careful not to work my fractured heart apart again. I only just got this thing glued back together, you know. Too much passion makes me shake, even joy could tear me apart. But somehow that kind of heart-shake seems to liven up my blood, the fire inside penetrates the anxiety, burns straight through any panic, and this passion frees me to dance so hard, it starts to shape my belly from pannicular to somewhat svelte, if only in my mind as I lift myself higher.
No One is still out there watching, living, doing. I feel her eyes on my words once a while and then gone away again, blinking me in and out of her consciousness, sometimes not even sparing me a single meaningful thought. I have made my sorries and forgives, but she has her grudges to nurse, and more important things to invest her anger in. As I spill these words, I can sense she must talk that way about me as well, or not talk at all, yeah, perhaps I am the subject of disregard, even when I still hold her in good regard. It is a wonder how we make our past best friends into next-door-neighbor villains, the stuff of legendary coffee table talk. Oh, the stupid tall tales I could tell you about No One!
I know I am her No One.
Yes, I know who No One is.
Do you know No One, too?
Who is your No One?