The sense of an ending
Octavia was her own special brand of magic. She wrote hand-written letters to Abby when she was at Smith, letters in loopy, beautiful cursive that could have been framed. Abby taped them to her dorm room walls. But not before she touched the handwriting, imagining Octavia connecting each letter together to form an impeccable stream of consciousness. Something Abby could fall into and become one with.
Abby’s letters back to Octavia were full of gritty, imperfect handwriting and gritty scenarios involving romance and psychiatric consultations. Perhaps Octavia was later on deterred by the grittiness. There was too much darkness. Surrounding Abby in the dining hall that winter where she studied dutifully, the Russian she was never to fully learn, was also darkness, a forboding winter of snow storms and wishful thinking. She made snow angels with a girl named Arabella and immediately fell in love with her. Abby didn’t drink out of principle, but in later years she remembered the snow fall that winter and fell into a drunk abyss.
Their relationship ended far too soon. Octavia, Abby predicted and later believed, was tired of playing the role of mother. Abby’s own mother had been an alcoholic, someone with whom Abby had had many fallings out with and did not speak to out of principle. Octavia’s letters served as an inspiration to pursue her dreams at Smith, something a mother should have inspired by default.
Octavia wrote back about her own romantic difficulties, and it made Abby respect her more. Here’s a woman of her own merit, pursuing romance and often falling short, but finding humor in the fall. She wondered if her own romantic difficulties were problematic for Octavia. Abby was discovering she was bisexual. On top of her discovery that she was bipolar, this might have been too rich of a self-discovery for a sensitive palate. For Octavia was childish in her own way. She brushed past darkness, like the strokes of her pen couldn’t pair flawless cursive with such travesties. Octavia was happy, with herself and her predictament in life. Abby, it could be said, was not.
It was over far too soon. Later that winter when Abby dropped out of Smith, she removed the letters from her dorm room walls one by one, carefully peeling the tape off the paint. Her roommate had long since moved out, finding Abby peculiar. This didn’t bother Abby the way it should have, and now the four walls that had so briefly housed only her letters, fear, and body was bare. The English language had been erased and replaced with a clean slate.
She never forgot the loopy cursive. Years later, at her new college, Abby unpacks Octavia’s letters and places them around the room as placeholders of an old perspective from a friend, now a new awakening of her own.