Ali opened her eyes to an unknown room. The walls were painted dark blue with a lot of pictures, famous quotes and posters all over them. It was a thousand times prettier than her room, so she felt a little ashamed. A soft, fine arm feel around her waist. Who was this girl laying in bed with her? What was Ali doing in her room? What the hell happened last night? She made an attempt to freak out, but that only made her headache worse and the room spin even faster. Even if she started to freak out, what was the point? Instead, Ali decided to relax and enjoy the cuddling while exploring the pictures and quotes on the wall.
She could tell her bed buddy was still asleep. Who could she be? Maybe she was a total stranger she met at a bar last night. Or maybe it was someone she knew. Maybe it was Miranda… But no, she knew how cuddling with Miranda felt, and it wasn’t like this. This felt safe, and sweet, and free, and… happy. Cuddling with Miranda felt wrong, as if it was an obligation rather than a proof of love. Cuddling with Miranda felt dirty. This was only, of course, at the end of their relationship.
Thinking of this made Ali remember her and Miranda when they first started dating. She was her first girlfriend, the one who helped her to come out to her parents. She was her first love. Her true love.
Why did things have change so much? When did Miranda to turn so empty and cold? Why? Those questions came to her mind every time she thought of Miranda. Her Miranda who wasn’t hers anymore…
But this wasn’t time to think about that. She was laying in a strange bed in a strange house and couldn’t remember anything. At least she was dressed, which meant they hadn’t had sex last night. She felt relieved. Not that she hated one night stands, but this girl wasn’t a one night stand type of girl. Even if Ali hadn’t seen her face or had a conversation with her (not that she recalled) she knew this girl could never be just a one night stand. It would feel wrong.
Ali noticed a picture of two smiling girls in a frame on top of a desk which had two names woodcut on it. “Sarah & Cara”. Either one of those names should be the mysterious girl’s. Ali hoped she was Cara. She loved that name.
Cara/Sarah started to move with an strangely attractive groan. Ali couldn’t help but to get as stiff as a rock. She was terrified. What if the girl didn’t remember her? What if she did? What if she was expecting Ali to leave before she woke up? Now it was too late for that. She could pretend she was still asleep, avoid the awkwardness and leave whenever Cara/Sarah got in the shower. But that wouldn’t work either, the fact that she was awake was too obvious. She would have to face the embarrassment as a woman. She had to be strong. She had to be brave. She had to be mature about this.
“Morning”, Ali said with a fake yawn.
Cara/Sarah looked at her with a smile from ear to ear. Apparently she did remember. Or she just wanted to be nice. She was acting like their situation wasn’t weird at all. As if having a stranger in your bed was not a big deal. Maybe it wasn’t, and Ali was overreacting.
“Hey you! I thought you were still sleeping.”
She had a special glow, as if she hadn’t just woken up. She looked so pretty and full of energy compared to Ali, who was embarrassed of everything. She was embarrassed that she didn’t recognize that girl she slept with, embarrassed that she looked like crap while the other girl looked like a model, embarrassed of each drink she had had last night. For the first time in her life, she felt embarrassed of herself.
“Please tell me I didn’t wake you up!”. Ali shook her head and articulated a “no” with her mouth. “I suppose you’re having a pretty bad hangover, aren’t you? “
“Not really”. She lied.
“You sure? Because it looks to me like that’s not entirely true…”
“You caught me”, Ali answered with a crooked smile.
“Well, then it’s your lucky day because I have an awesome remedy for that”.
Cara/Sarah lead Ali to the kitchen with a huge smile on her face. Now Ali was smiling too, feeling somehow pretty comfortable with this particular stranger.
“Here”. Cara/Sarah handed Ali a drink she had just got out of the fridge. It certainly looked good. “It’s a strawberry daiquiri. It’s good”, she continued.
“Sorry, but the last thing I want right now is more alcohol”, Ali said as she rejected the amazing looking drink and wondered why the hell did this girl have a perfectly arranged and ready to drink daiquiri in her fridge. But Cara/Sarah replied with a skeptical look.
“Okay. I’ll drink it. I have nothing left to lose, anyways”
“That’s the attitude!”, the other girl laughed.
Ali laughed too as she drank the most delicious beverage she had ever tried. After a comfortable moment of silence and forgetting the drink for a minute, she decided to try to unravel the mysteries of last night.
“Can I ask you a pretty awkward question?”
“Is it my name? Don’t worry, It’s not your hangover, I just don’t think I told you last night”
Ali felt a little better now, even though she knew she wouldn’t remember even if she had told her.
“My name is Miranda Hamilton” She said with a smile while offering Ali her hand to shake in a goofy way.
And at that moment, Ali’s heart froze completely. Of course her name had to be Miranda! This was destiny’s cruel way of reminding Ali that she was never going to get over the most traumatic experience of her life. This felt as if life was throwing bricks right at her face and then laughing merciless as it watched her bleed. This was Ali going back into the nightmares that haunted her almost every night.
“I have to go.” Ali said nervously and hurried to the room to get her things.
Miranda followed her with a worried expression on her face. Things were going pretty well from her perspective. What could have happened so suddenly that triggered such a reaction from the girl?
“What happened? Did I do something wrong?” She asked while Ali looked desperately for her right shoe.
“I can’t find my shoe!! Where is it!? I need it to leave! Where is my fucking shoe??”
Miranda could tell she was having a panic attack. She was hyperventilating, crying, rushing all over the room… Her brother used to have this breakdowns quite often when he was younger. She wanted to calm her down just the way she remembered her mother calmed down Johnny. But what had caused this situation? She was confused, but still wanted to help and maybe, after Ali was a little more relaxed, she would explain it to her.
“Here it is!” Ali put her recently found shoe on. “Goodbye”
She ran through the bedroom door so fast Miranda didn’t even have the chance to hold her and help her. She just froze there and saw Ali freaking out in the hall trying to find the door that led to the street. She finally found it after three failed attempts and started running with no destination. She run with make up all over her face, messy hair, and last night’s clothes on.
Miranda. Why did she have to be Miranda? Why? It felt like all those months of therapy and all those drugs they made her take were for nothing. All that work and effort to feel better after what happened were gone the second that girl pronounced her name: Miranda.
She had heard it a million times, even after Miranda’s “transformation”; but this time was different. This girl was different. Ali tried to deny it from the second she woke up in that strange bed, but that woman reminded her to Miranda like no other. And when she said that name, which was also her name… She couldn’t ignore it anymore.
Ali was still running. Now even faster. It was like she was trying to escape that feeling. That feeling that Miranda was still with her. Her Miranda, not the Miranda she had turned into last year. The Miranda she met in high school. The Miranda she vowed eternal love to. The Miranda who was gone and lost.
Ali stopped. She was standing in front of that place. She was surprised she ended up there, even though she had been running in that direction for the past twenty minutes. She wanted to go inside, where she could see Miranda, but she knew it wouldn’t be her Miranda anymore. If she went inside she would be throwing away all those hours with Dr. Norton, all that time she’d been trying to get over Miranda’s transformation.
But she wanted to go inside. She wanted it more than anything. But she couldn’t… After her family had put her in this hospital, Ali had never had the guts to come visit her. She couldn’t… She didn’t want to… But now she did. She did want to see her love, her Miranda.
Friends, family, doctors… all said Miranda wasn’t Miranda anymore. Ali knew it. She had to live with her for that one year and saw her change slowly. But something deep inside her told her that it wasn’t real, it was just a bad dream and Miranda was still the Miranda she once loved, and if she went inside that hospital she could rescue her and run away and be happy forever, just like in fairy tales.
But this wasn’t a fairy tale. Nor a romantic novel, nor any kind of love story. This was real life, and in real life there is no happily ever after. In real life there are people you love turning into strangers, and anxiety attacks from hearing one name, and standing in front of a fucking mental hospital waiting for a miracle that will never happen.
Covered in tears, Ali whispered the last words she hoped Miranda could hear.
“I promised I would always love you, but I can’t.”
Hi guys! I know this is a bit different than what I usually post, but I am really proud of it, and I hope you enjoy it. Feedback would be very much appreciated. Thank you!