The Girl with the Million Lives

She is the girl with the million lives.

Lives lived, lives half-lived; lives that could have been, and lives that will be – there they all are, quiet behind her eyes, as she stares into space from across the table.

She tells you about some of them sometimes, those lives she keeps inside – the adventurer in the night, the ice queen, the hoper, the dreamer, the non-believer – and you sit, listening as hard as you can, partly to hear her voice, and partly in the hope that maybe you are in one of them.

The Boy with Roots

He is the boy with roots.

From afar, you cannot see them – he hides them behind his forgettable face, his lopsided smile.

He hides them well.

And then, in a moment you would not expect it, you find his arm around you and his head on your shoulder, and while he looks past you, you find you have memorized his face, and you can feel them growing.

He has roots underneath your skin.

The Girl with the Candle

(I am in medical school. Sure, there are so many things to learn, but what strikes me the most is the people I have come to associate with, the people I have tentatively grown to like, possibly even love. In this series I plan to do a story for every one of those 161 people, about a moment when they thought no one was looking at them, and I saw them.)

She is the girl with the candle in the room of the dead.

In that context, she is nothing special – in fact, we were all holding candles then, all 162 of us, standing around bodies half-covered in blue plastic sheets.

But then, as the candles burned down to half of what they were, she did not notice – her eyes were fixed on a point no one could follow. As hot wax spilled on her fingers, she did not make a sound, as others I have known are wont to do. And as the wick glowed hot near her skin, she waited until the service was over, and finally, with a look I cannot even begin to describe, she blew on the candle, and the light flickered and died in her hands.

She is the girl with the candle in the room of the dead.