I’ve been thinking about you a lot. I’ve decided to delete the history of us on Facebook. Before I unfriended you the other night, I went to your profile and clicked the ‘see friendship’ button. It told me that we became Facebook friends on a Sunday in March 2011.
There was a party on the Saturday night and you were a co-worker of the host, working in the deli section of Coles. You were a bit out of place — a year younger, and from a different high school than the other girls at the party, which seemed to matter to them at the time for some reason. I wasn’t the only one at the party who was drawn to your sarcastic sense of humour, your dark eyes, and the way you bit the corner of your lip when you were concentrating. You told me that you didn’t really drink much, because sometimes you had horrible, allergic reactions. I couldn’t tell if you were joking or not.
For the next few months we kept running into each other. In August our birthdays fall a few days apart, and we both posted flirty happy birthday messages on each other’s Facebook walls.
In September, we found ourselves back in the same house where we first met. Everyone was wrapped in blankets and huddled around this little table discussing the plot of Human Centipede. I watched as you scrunched your nose, but we didn’t really talk until later, when we were all out at a club in the Valley. You found me outside in the smoking area and asked for a cigarette. I tried not to picture you naked. You put your arm around me and you were warm. You told me you were worried that if you drank any more your allergies would act up, so we walked together to the cab rank. You told me to come with you.
I remember that your parents owned two houses. I think you told me that your mother was in property development. Your parents lived in one house, and you climbed through the window of the other to let me in. It was a Queenslander, old but nice. The place was pretty bare — just a mattress and a few blankets on the living room floor. Your laptop was there too, and you put on some music. I took off my shoes and sat on the mattress, while you lay on your back, smiling. We got to know each other better on the mattress in that empty room, listening to trance music. I was thinking about dropping out of art school, and you hated ice cream, played viola, and went to TAFE. After a little while, you told me you were going to get comfortable. You stood and looked right at me with those dark eyes, undressing to your underwear, biting your lip.
The next morning was grey and wet and cold. You had an early TAFE class, so we walked to the bus stop together. We stopped for coffee and made small talk. We didn’t kiss or hold hands. I tried to tell you how good last night had been for me, but you cut me off, saying that you were a still a bit fried from your allergies. You hugged me goodbye.
That evening I got a text from you.
‘Hey! I heard some really scary girl took advantage of you when you were drunk last night, are you okay?’
I replied, ‘I was pretty drunk, but I do remember some really cute girl with a grudge against ice-cream leaving an impression… what are you up to today?’
‘Pondering the meaning of life and sacrificing anteaters.’
‘I really like you.’
‘I like you too!’
For most of September we got coffee, and watched movies, and went home together. One time when we had nowhere to go, I drove us to the beach and we fooled around in the back of my car, and when I dropped you home you left a lipstick mark on my windscreen. When I was having a bad night, you told me that I was anything but ordinary.
The last night we spent together was different. It felt like we had run out of things to say to each other. We had rushed into things, and now neither of us knew what to do next.
On the last night you were cryptic and withdrawn when I arrived outside the back gate of your real house – the one your parents lived in – in the early hours of the morning. I was drunk and riddled with anxiety as you led me through the steep garden. In your room we tried whispering in the dark for a while, but ended up having careful, ‘don’t wake the parents’ sex. Afterwards, you said I had to leave and we had an argument that I can’t clearly remember. I left, and we didn’t see each again for a long time.
About a year later I returned to the house where we first met, and you came up in conversation.
‘Yeah, she quit her job. I don’t think she could handle it.’
‘What do you mean? What happened?’
They told me that you had had an allergic reaction at a party and had fallen and hit your head. You had woken up in the hospital thinking you were fourteen. You had lost the last four years of your life. I felt nauseous thinking about it, so I said something flippant like, ‘It’s probably good that she can’t remember me, right?’
I’ve only seen you once since. You were tearing tickets at Southbank Cinema. You looked bored. I tried to think of something to say, but you looked right at me with those dark eyes and said, ‘Cinema 3, up the stairs to your left.’
Now the memories and messages belong only to me, and you have to know that I tend to romanticise, but this is our relationship as best as I can remember it. I look at pictures of you smiling with your new friends on Facebook and you seem happy. I wonder if you are even the same person I knew. I want to ask you if you remember me. I want to ask if those memories are good memories. I want to ask about that text you sent about ‘the meaning of life and sacrificing anteaters’, but I don’t think I can.
Heather Joan Day is a writer and filmmaker. Their writing has been published in Going Down Swinging, The Lifted Brow, Plaything Magazine, and online. They currently live in Melbourne with their cats, Vivienne and Persephone, and tweet @emo_flowers.