Somewhere, there is a stain on a flowered bedspread that will never come out. It's small, the color of dark red fingernail polish or wine. In this stain is her life story.
They don't remember where they first met, and it doesn't really matter. She was into drugs then, needles hidden under the mattress, and he was the self-proclaimed band nerd with extraordinarily thick glasses. Maybe it was that party where she was laughing wildly with cherry lipstick smeared across her cheek, tying her hair ribbon around her arm and pushing heroin through her veins. He was standing in a corner having been dragged there by a friend, trying his best not to notice the two guys rubbing against each other behind the couch. Or it may have been at school where she bumped into him walking down the hall because she was high on pot. His sheet music had flown out of his arms and she'd stumbled off without an apology while he'd picked up the papers because that was just the way things were.
But regardless of the situation, they met, and that's what counts. On her bed they carved tiny letters into the fleshy part of their palms. J + K. It meant forever.
Because no matter how weak he looked, he was still the one who stuck his finger down her throat and didn't complain when she puked all over his feet. I'm so sorry, she'd say with her eyeliner on her fists from grinding the tears out of her eyes so often. It's the pills. Oh, I know I have to stop Jay-Jay and I will. I will. He'd smile and nod and prepare to do it again. She wouldn't stop, he knew. She was too far under, too messed-up. But he loved her. She was his very best friend and the day he wasn't there to stick his finger down her throat would be the day he'd slit his wrists.
It wasn't one-sided. She was there for him, bandaging his cuts, kissing his newest bruises, saying she knew it hurt but hey, you have to have all sorts of emotions to create good art and she knew he could turn this into music. She'd use some of her drug money to buy him a huge box of his favorite salt water taffy and they would sit watching movies together. She knew that his dad would probably hit him until the day he died and she knew that he'd always be beat up by other people too because he was gay and she knew this meant that they wouldn't ever be together for real and have children. But that was okay because he was her very best friend and the day he got knocked around one too many times would be the day she'd shoot up air instead of heroin.
They had their first time together, his first for real and her first where it meant something. He didn't like girls that way, he'd told her so a long time ago, but he said it didn't matter. He loved her so much and he just needed someone. She was the school druggie and the school whore, the girl who could take it rough and did handcuffs and leather and whips, but she kissed every single one of his tears. He said he'd never regret it and that he'd never find anyone that he loved more, girl or guy. She snuggled closer to him and tried hard not to cry because no one else would ever be so careful with her.
As it turned out, he didn't slit his wrists or get beaten to death and she didn't shoot up air bubbles or gulp down pills. They were in his car, smiling and laughing in that special private way that only best friends know, the radio turned all the way up. A truck driver fell asleep and that was all it took. Car crash.
On her bed there was a tiny stain from when they carved J + K into their skin and swore to be together forever. And they were.