(I’m taking another stab at themes I’ve been working through for a while, so some of it could seem familiar). Thanks!
There’s a version of this story where none of it happens. A version where you are don’t vanish on a cold November night, leaving only trails of dust and cryptic love notes on my pillow: Remember me as I was.
There’s still a portal but it doesn’t lead to the underworld.
In this version it’s June, not November, and we are at the carnival, eating funnel cakes and laughing like people who have no idea what’s coming. The lights of the ER have become the spinning lights of The Spyder and The Zipper, garish pinks and blues and yellows, the air thick with hormones and screams and innocence and whips of cherry lime and atomic tangerine.
In this other version it’s 1985, and there’s a florescent halo around the cotton candy booth, and my breath is spun sugar, and the sun sets for hours like she, too, is satiated. We are walking around the carnival and the year is 1985 and I am wearing my favorite dress, long before I learned to pose for the world, and your hair is a feathered mullet, and we are neon rainbows of pink, yellow, and blue against a trampled, grassy field.
In my version it’s never November, and the hounds of hell do not arrive, and the first of many 911 calls will not be placed and it’s not November, never November, the month of surrender, the month when you realize some things are irreversible, the way one’s hair can go white overnight, the way demons are opportunistic, like strikebreakers. Hungry.
In my version we are still beautiful, watching other versions of ourselves get on toy boats heading the wrong direction into haunted tunnels and disappearing into the darkness of other lives.
It is June and June and always June. I kiss you for real and everything is right again, like summer fireflies, like unexpected fireworks at dusk. I kiss you for real, and the Ferris Wheel is hypnotic, and the fireworks spray like unexpected confetti. We hold hands. We make a wish.