Branded

for J. Brand

Do you remember that first afternoon? Just how perfect it was? I know I do. I think that you were only the second person since the age of 3 who helped me to feel whole. You made me feel real.

Serendipity. That was my nook, top secret! Nobody knew of its existence. I was on my usual quest for solitude that day, after a particularly challenging morning. As I approached the hidden entrance I knew immediately that there was something amiss. I entered quietly, slowly, not knowing what to expect. But it was you, sitting on my blanket and reading my book.

Do you remember how surprised we both were? I know I do. You immediately jumped up to leave, flustered and apologising. I told you to stay.

I feel like we both shared everything with one another that day, and we had so much in common! Too much in common. We shared tastes and interests, but unfortunately we also shared experiences. It seemed that you had also experienced almost every bad thing that had happened to me. You understood. But now, I wish you hadn’t.

Do you remember just how well we fit? I know I do. From that day on, it became our place. A safe place, away from them and their judgements. You transformed it from a place of solitary confinement to a place of warmth and care.

I knew. As soon as they realised you were missing from classes, I knew. The school was alive with speculation and gossip. There was even one rumour that you’d dropped out in order to pursue a career as a model. I spent the entire day alone in the nook, looking at what you had contributed. I became irrationally angry. At myself for not realising soon enough. At you for not telling me, for not taking me with you.

I seared my skin with your mark. I still have the scar although it’s impossible to tell what it is. But I know. And you know.

Do you remember that first afternoon? I will never stop remembering.

It’s been 8 years since you left. A lot has changed. I haven’t, not really. You will always have my heart and my soul.

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