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Twirling around my room I was filled with thrill as my short sandy locks bounced around with me. They softly curved around my face and landed right above my shoulders. And my perfectly croped side bangs danced above my eyebrow. I had just gotton my hair cut. Truthfully I loved it. I had never had my hair short, ever. It always seemed like my hair was dragging me down, so long and brown, always distracting people from my face or outfit. Everyone was just going to love this look I knew it, and it was the just right way to start my senior year.
The next morning I skipped into the gym in plenty of time to get “ohhs” and “awwhs” from everyone. The only thing missing was my northern boyfriend, Devin. Where was the boy? He needed to see my hair ASAP. The bell rang and I followed the crowd into the hallway. Passing by random people I spotted him walking in the opposite direction. I made my way through the crowd and grabbed his arm. I smiled and said, “Hey babe!” His normal adorable face looked horrified and shocked all at the same time. He spoke in measured cautious words, “hey Rach...” that was when he broke down almost sobbing he turned form me and leaned against the wall as he started muttering something I couldn’t understand. I pulled him around the corner so random passerby’s couldn’t see us and I quickly said, “what’s wrong??!” I was seriously concerned this was not like him at all. Trying to turn away from me he looked like he was about to cry. I started rubbing his arms and said, “Sshh, shh, it’s going to be okay.” As if he was a small child.
Finally he stopped mumbling although he was still shaking a little. I then said, “Devin explain to me what is wrong.”
He then said as if he was admitting to murder, “you look so much like her…with your hair like that...” “What are you talking about?” sounding almost irritated.
Looked up he stared into the space above my head and his trembling started all over again and he said, “My ex her name was Marissa.” He paused for a moment then said, “I loved her so, but I never had the strength to tell you about her. I picked you though because you reminded me so much of her, your body, your face, your eyes, those full angel lips of yours. All just like her. You even act like her; it’s as if you are her southern twin. When I first moved here I just watched you bounce and flutter through your life. I couldn’t believe I found her again. It was a miracle, you were my angle the only thing missing was her hair, it was short and blond like yours now is.”
I just stared for a moment trying to take it all in. I was about to say something when he started on with those mechanical sounding words about this random girl. “I needed to know you, I had to know you. And I was so happy when I could finally call you my girl. I sometimes still envision that you are her. I see you dying in my arms, watching the life slip from your stunning warm body, watching that disease take it away.”
I could see him watching this girls death in his mind pulling his face down to mine I said, “Come back to me here, I am not that Marissa girl, and I am sorry I reminded you of her. But you have to move on!” clutching my shoulders in his strong grip he pushed me toward the wall. What was wrong with him I thought, this is not my boyfriend. That was my last thought before tripping backward and falling farther and farther from Devin, hitting my head with a terrible crack on the wall, slipping myself into a coma.
How had I let this happen? Just a few years ago I had been sitting in a situation almost identical to this, the girl I loved dying from cancer. After escaping the grief I finally found happiness again. Through Rachel my other Marissa. Then in one moment of fury I had caused her to trip and then fall. Now her gorgeous radiant body was laying there hooked up to all kinds of noisy contraptions. It had been like that for a week. I stayed with her as much as I could. Partially because I wondered if she would remember my story, I had kept my past a secret until now. I had no idea how she would react. And partially because I loved her and wanted to be there the moment her big brown eyes opened. It was midnight on Friday. My mind was so jumbled that I hadn’t even been watching her. So when I heard a tiny cough I was very surprised. Looking over relief washed over me. I felt like a criminal who had just been stated innocent. Then all of a sudden I felt very very nervous. I said, “hey baby, it’s so good to see you awake.”
Her voice came out smooth, “Oh Devin you are such a fool, calling me baby after everything you have done.”
I was astonished for a moment because Rachel almost never acted like this. She was calm, collected, and most of all compassionate, never lashing out like this. “Rach darling what are you talking about?” she was suddenly very angry; I could see it like a hurricane in her eyes.
She almost spit out the words, “Do. Not. Call. Me. That.” When I started to say something she silenced me with her glare.
She sighed and said, “You didn’t think anyone would know did you?” no one would ever find out about how crazy you were. I mean you only took my life. You though I was asleep didn’t you? When in truth I was so sick I couldn’t even hold my eyes open. But now you took that last little piece of life from me. Taking my own IV cord and wrapping it around my neck. If that wasn’t crazy enough you ran away form the pain and anguish you caused. To go find another me! Oh but then she went over the line with the hair didn’t she, causing you to lose your mind all over again.”
She stared at me and a thousand thoughts flew thorough my head. I just sat and relived those few moments all over again.
Taking life reliving how odd and yet marvelous it felt. Suddenly I was angry standing up I leaned over her and said, “You were so close to being gone it didn’t really matter, I was saving us all some grief. I couldn’t stand watching that disease take everything from you! Marissa you were in so much pain! It was for the best, you have to believe that!”
My anger had dissolved almost as soon as it had come. Now I just felt a bone crushing sadness. Sadness for the girl I loved, for murder for my whole life in a whole. She surprised me by gently rubbing my arm. “Devin, its okka..” and her voice became a whisper. Her eyes started to drift and she almost mouthed, “hurry..kiss..” and before the life left her completely ever so gently and ever so quickly I brought my lips to hers. And kissing those unmoving lips was the best goodbye I could have ever asked for.
I awoke to Devin’s face above mine. Everything was hazy. I could tell I was laying on a stiff mattress. And I wanted to ask a million and one questions about where I was and why I was here but I could tell there was terror in Devin’s eyes so instead I said, “Devin” and tried to smile my voice was thick with sleep and my face felt dead but it was a start. He got to his knees beside the bed and said,” oh my rachel I love you.” I smiled this time putting a little more life into it. Reaching with my hand that didn’t have needles stuck in it I felt my head it was bandaged but my short hair was still there. Then I said, “you never did tell me, do you like my haircut?”