She haunts me. Ever since I saw her in that alley behind the bar I can’t get her out of my mind. Her song plays over and over. She was so beautiful, even bundled up as she was. She seemed to be comforting a dying homeless man. The way she held his head as he took his final breaths was so delicate. His haggard breathing simply slowed to a halt, his death rattle pairing perfectly with her lyrics. I tried to yell out to her as she left, but I simply couldn’t get any words out. She left me cold and shivering in the alleyway, wondering who she was, an empty longing in my heart.
I went home unsure of what I had seen. Was she even real? Was she an angel, or just some horrifically beautiful imagining of mine. I wanted to tell someone about her. I called up a friend of mine, John. He wasn’t supportive. He didn’t understand what I was on about. Said I sounded like a loon. And it was crazy, I knew that. So I agreed with him, that I was crazy. I must’ve still been pretty drunk, I said. But it all seemed so real. Her pale skin, her blonde hair.
A few weeks later and I saw her again. This time at the aftermath of a robbery. I was on my way home from work. She was singing her song once more. That’s how I found her. I was walking along the outside of the crowd when the angelic chords of her voice struck my ears. I pushed my way through to the front, and there I saw her, the light playing off her hair, her skin. She seemed to glow. She walked behind the stretcher, and if anyone else could see her they weren’t showing it. As she got inside the ambulance I wanted to call out to her once more, but I still had my wits about me enough not to do that. As soon as the ambulance took off I felt the emptiness once again.
I called John again. I told him about her, that I’d seen her again, told him about the empty feeling inside of me. He told me he was worried about me. I told him he shouldn’t be. Then I hung up on him. He didn’t believe me. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to convince him. I was still trying to convince myself. No one else could see her or hear her but she seemed so real, like I would feel her if I touched her. There had to be something wrong with me.
Months went by without another sighting. I almost forgot about her. But her song still haunted my dreams. Played a sinful lullaby as I slept. I rested uneasily.
I was walking down the bridge one humid night. When suddenly I heard it. The Song. I looked around but I couldn’t see her anywhere. Then I saw him. Him, standing on the edge. He looked so desperate, so scared. Then he jumped. I rushed over to him when I saw him lean forwards, and then I saw her in the water. Singing her sirens song. Her arms looked so inviting as he plummeted headlong into them. He took her out when he hit the water. I and several other people gathered around the spot where he had jumped. I asked them if any of them had seen a woman in the water. Those that weren’t dialing emergency services told me they hadn’t seen anything.
As soon as I got home I began panicking. I was the only one that could see her, she couldn’t be real. Yet she seemed as real as you or me. I needed help, that’s what I needed. I needed a doctor. So I went out and got one the next day. They admitted me to an inpatient for a week, told me it was to observe me. They gave me pills, for psychosis they said, and sent me on my way. I didn’t see her anymore.
The warmth turned cold again, and I still hadn’t seen her. Still hadn't heard her deadly lullaby. The pills must have worked. I felt fine aside from the numbing tiredness. John was talking to me again. Everything was going well. And then it happened.
I was watching the news when I saw her. I heard her voice from the kitchen, then I saw her on the screen. It was a clip from the war on terror overseas. She looked just as beautiful as I remembered her to. She was only there for a moment before they cut away from the “disturbing images”, but a moment was all I needed. I’d seen her again. I was losing my shit. I wanted to see her more, I wanted to hold her. The emptiness had returned in full force, even stronger than I had felt it before
And then it hit me.
I scrambled over my couch and made haste into the bathroom. I opened up the medicine cabinet and grabbed my pill bottle. I’d gotten the idea from the jumper. So I opened it up, and poured all my pills into my hand. It was a fresh bottle, plenty of pills. I needed something to take them with, so back in the pills went. Into the kitchen, pour a glass, then back out with the pills. I shoveled them into my mouth, their coatings dissolving and sticking to my tongue and the back of my mouth. I drank the water and felt them all slide down my throat. Then, I waited. Nothing happened. Ten minutes passed, and I began to feel like I’d made a horrible mistake. Then I heard her. Her sweet sweet song touched my ears once more, and I saw her come around the corner. She reached out to me, and I reached out to her. Our fingertips touched. And then: