I remember her face. But not the one where her eyes gaze dreamily at me and her crooked smile shines. In my memory those eyes are vacant, those lips are a shade of blue, and that smile is lost at sea.
*One year earlier*
“How long have you two dated?” Meghan, a new girl at our school asked. Tara and I exchanged a glance before I replied.
“Three years, four months, twelve days, and sixteen hours.” Tara broke into a smile and snuggled further into my arm. I never knew something was wrong.
“Wow” Meghan responded incredulously and returned her focus to her turkey sandwich.
Later that night I picked up the phone. Tara’s number had become muscle memory. After several rings, her sing-songy voice invited me to leave a message after the beep. I pulled on my high tops and started towards her house.
“Hi, Mrs. Jones,” I said when Tara’s mother answered the door. “Is Tara home?”
“Oh, hello Andrew,” she replied granting me a thin smile. “She went out.” I stopped the door with my hand as she tried to close it.
“Do you have any idea where?”
“Nope,” she answered anxiously as her latest dirt-bag boyfriend came up behind her and snaked his arm around her waist. The door slammed in my face.
It was night when I began the journey home, the type of night that seems to swallow you. As I passed a pier, I noticed a dark figure standing dangerously close to the edge. I moved closer and realized who it was. Tara. Before I could call out, she tipped forward and tumbled silently into the sea. Scrambling towards the edge, I fumble with my cell phone and dial 911. Immediately after the call was made, I dived into after her.
In a matter of minute we were both pulled out. But her face. It wasn’t the one I knew. I watched as they zipped the bag over that face.
*One year later*
Today I’m back where it happened. The play where she ended her life and mine with it. The air is sticky just like it was then, but a cool breeze tickling the nape of my neck offsets it a bit. I know that she is the breeze, calling to me, comforting me. Tara. I walk down the pier, the rough, weathered wood scraping the soles of my red high tops. The night is dark but her spirit shines bright. The waves are rough tonight and they linger several feet below the platform.
All I see is her cold, dead face as I tip forward into the ocean. The water is freezing, but I am already numb. As I sink to the bottom, my last air escaping in bubbles above me, I see her face. The smile is warm, her eyes are alive. I reach out and stroke her curls as we are swallowed by blackness.