Most of his Facebook posts include the red balloon emoji. She posted several times a day, mostly GIFs and photos, but sometimes poetry and screenshots of tweets. She had been on the roof of a building at a party, and then she’d fallen off. I thought at the time: I would never be that brave; but I wasn’t sure what I was referring to, even in my own mind. I made new friends, who would go on to completely abandon me for a girl named Kelly who did things like play Truth or Dare and shave her legs; but for a while, we were close. There’s no way to deal with death when it’s that close to you and you’re that young. I knew who @tailoredballoon was, an internet personality who used to go by Taylor Balloon, but had changed back to his real name, Ty Corning, sometime in the past year. Up came a profile with the same photo as on her blog, but cropped in a square, revealing that she was sitting in a chair holding her knees to her chest. This Laura girl, though, she had all kinds of friends. “I miss you, Laura.” “Remembering the time we went to the beach and took acid together for my first time and your last time.” “Angel face.” “I had a dream about you last night. We knew this as deeply as we knew the history of California’s missions or the plot of or multiplication tables. I wasn’t the kind of girl a boy would like, I guess. It all came out forced, like a bad laugh during a sitcom. When we are gone, our cells will redistribute, making new animals and sediments and people and things. If I told you that I learned about death from Anne Frank, what would that mean to you?
But she saw so much more than I ever have, or maybe ever will. We talked on Skype sometimes, and I followed her blog.
It was a slow progression of people falling in love. I began to look around online, trying to find where Chatsex came from. Sometimes princess goddesses had to spend time on Earth because it was safer here, a relaxing spot. I hated that she got attention for her disease, and that no one noticed when the same thing was happening to me. I slept on her floor that night, trying to hear if her heart would stop. But this is the story that should be told, because it says something. There will be a day when you will be riding in a car and know that you will never die.
I found it linked several times from two Twitter accounts: @latentconsistency and @tailoredballoon. I went to Facebook again, and typed “Laura Cholzi” into the search bar. I only ever get wall posts from my roommate and this girl I’m friends with who moved to Australia. It’s nice, but it’s a reminder of how solitary I am. Sometimes it was nice to escape the intensity of our daily royal/deific life. We went into my garden and built houses for fairies. It didn’t matter if you couldn’t see them; they were still there. I told my new friends that me and the other girl, the red-headed girl, were drifting apart. But not long after I said that, they started hanging out with Kelly, and avoiding me, and ignoring me when I spoke. I went to see her every day, bringing in magazines and card games, discussing the fairies and our language and our true positions as princess goddesses. It’s a story about loss, and growing up, and learning something. Telling the story about the red-headed girl is the only way I can get you to feel the things I felt when I got to the last page of a brown-haired girl’s diary.
It was a collection of gchat messages between two people identified as Her and Him. ere’s another story: I had a best friend growing up. It had its own language and everything, which I’d been crafting since I was seven. People made me feel good about it, commenting on how light I was to pick up, how I was the thinnest and tallest in the whole class. At eighth-grade graduation all the boys danced with me on the stage in the church’s reception hall. The week before the red-headed girl was supposed to come back from Ireland, her mom sent out a mass email saying that she, the girl, had developed an eating disorder, and that she looked a lot different. He takes me up to a canyon overlooking the San Fernando Valley. We are standing next to each other, not touching at all. “Everybody’s got their fucking mountains,” he says, and I know what he means because we are inches from each other and never more distant.
They talked about old oak trees and supernovae and birds flying and Xanax bars. He was reserved but lightly poetic, and She was direct and blunt. We were actually princesses, and goddesses, but we were just on Earth for the time being. She looked like she might break when I saw her—pale, with that thin layer of fur coating her arms as a last-ditch effort to insulate her body, her eyes large and light blue and reflecting nothing. I hated that she had never told me, that I had to find out from her mom. I got a call from her mom mid-summer, saying that the red-headed girl was going to the hospital in the morning. She grew up and moved to San Francisco and is engaged to a sailor and is happy. I’m thinking now about the time in January when I call the boy that Emma and I loved, or thought we loved, and he picks me up. He puts on Simon and Garfunkel and we sing along to that song about the animals, hands pounding the sides of the car, voices ringing in wind. You might be next to a person who doesn’t give a fuck about you.