The girl who fumbles with her keys and lives by music alone but gives her guitars away to strangers. Her skin reminds you of daffodils in the summer and her eyes remind you of prayers and you do not know where her sense of fright ends and her sense of loveliness begins. She cannot distinguish between a necklace and a rope. You have never met anyone with as much life as her but you think she will die sooner than anyone else.
The boy who forgets everything, his own name, but is terrified of being forgotten. You can ask him a question about anything and he will answer you, but behind his eyes he is not quite sure at all. He takes better care of you than he does himself. He is bursting with life and color and it worries you – someday he will explode, maybe already he is exploding. He creates masterpieces inside of his brain. Including you. You are his imagination.
The girl who calls herself an open book but only ever shows you the cover page. Sometimes you aren’t sure if there are any more pages. She isn’t sure either. But sometimes at night she cracks open the book and remembers why she keeps it closed. You never think to ask what’s inside. She will live longer than the rest of us and she will live less than the rest of us combined.
The boy who loves music, but only the music that reminds him of himself. You wonder if he loves you in the same way. People fall through his fingers like saltwater so he clenches his fists too tightly and squeezes the last drops out of his hands. He thinks he’s going to save the world but he will never try to save you or save himself. He might have a superhero cape or a gun strapped to his back. Or in his mouth. It’s the same thing.
The girl who wears flower patterns and sings songs from the musicals you watched as a kid and is always talking about her next lover, but her world is filled with none of the color that she is devoted to. Her mind moves and shifts like gears. She is adored by all but some say she never adores back, and you never know how to take that. She always seems to be wearing the exact same outfit she was wearing when you met her.
The boy who lives in the past and can never quite make it back to the present, but somehow he is the only one who keeps you grounded. You can depend on him and he cannot begin to depend on himself. He has forests in his hair and sun on his face and mountains in his heart, and all he ever wants to do is return to them, but all he will ever do is stay. If he talks fast enough you will forget that he is exhausted.
The girl who covers herself in lines and phrases and tiny flowers and always smells like ink and jumps a little when you touch her. She embellishes her skin with a pen, or sometimes something sharper. When she wakes up, she hears music in her head, and she likes to believe it isn’t her imagination. She may laugh or cry for the exact same thing, depending on her mood. You will never understand her taste in music and she will never mind.
The boy who loves deeply but is never really loved in quite the way he wants. He will tell you everything about himself before you understand that you have no idea who he is. He isn’t sure either. He is a hastily glued idea board, an agglomeration of the ways that people have treated him, a collage of album covers and old magazines and casual words and the people who live in his head. He has the same eye color as you. You didn’t notice until now.
The girl who laughs louder than the rest of them and you think it is because she is happy but then you learn it is only out of habit. Her lips long to speak about her hurt, but nobody ever asks her, so she paints them over with red and paints over her life with dresses and movies and hairstyles. She clings to old fantasies because nobody helped her to grow out of them. She wears stage makeup because nobody told her not to. She acts in plays and sometimes that’s easier for her.
The boy who never fit in, and it’s okay because he never never wanted to, but somehow you hurt for him anyway. He finishes your sentences for you but would never start one for himself. He’s an ending, never a beginning. You’ve never quite sure if he’s looking at you, or looking away, and even though he can tell you everything about yourself there’s always a chance he doesn’t know you exist. His presence is almost as painful as his absence.
You knew all of them. But maybe you never looked deeply enough.