How fast can I go? So fucking fast. Your eyes strain to discern me pass; a cobalt blur. The roads are dry but that hardly keeps me safe. I take the turns at speed so amazing that my knees nearly scrape; practically parallel with the ground.

I know what I'm running from… but I don't wonder why I'm punishing myself. If I spin out, if I smash into oncoming traffic as I pass that POS Toyota on a double yellow, will I be forgiven? Would that make us even, would it obliterate the memories quicker?

Let her be dead to me, God.

I stop at an Exxon for gas and to take another Xanax; not that benzodiazepines are my drug of choice, but whatever works right? I'm trying to impress you, I have no drug of choice. I smoke pot with the college kids at the club, I'm good for the night after two drinks. Real cool.

I grabbed the bottle off her nightstand before I left this evening. She'd just gotten the prescription yesterday, only half a pill was gone. The doctor said the Xanax would help.

"You've improved so much, Aurora," he said. "But the Xanax will help."

Well it didn't fucking help. I blame that doctor, but not as much as I blame myself… I thought she was getting better, too.

I try to swallow the pill before it can dissolve, but it's already turned into paste that tastes like earwax and lingers in my mouth like morning breath.

I was on the road for ten minutes when that fucker hit me.

I feel sleepy-drunk, perfect. My thoughts don't escape me, which would be ideal, they just disperse from the dense mass they were so I can read them clearly, little black particles of misery. I'm not any less enraged or terrified, I'm just not so pissed about it anymore.

The Xanax makes me faster because the speed is incapable of intimidating me anymore. I welcome the power, I am speed. My eyes are sharper, I know what's coming and how to outmaneuver it. The road is a challenge, a sparring buddy who's only so tough because he wants me to learn, to surpass him and prove I'm worthy to be going… 127.

Shit, 127 mph. I nod to the car on my right as I fly by.
That's right.

You should be jealous. I'm higher than a star, faster than a fucking meteor. Follow me, I'll teach you too. I'm a monster.

"It's alright to be afraid," I say aloud.

I-… I'm dying.

I'm being ripped apart.

Fuck, this is embarrassing.

I hope no one sees the awkward positions my limbs bend into as I try to right myself in the air, but I'm not a fucking cat. It's a strange sensation -falling- knowing you're about to bounce off the pavement, anticipating how bad it'll hurt.

Try not to be surprised, it hurts like hell.

The gravel rips through my jeans and leather jacket like a belt-sander rubbing through a sheet of paper. I might as well be naked, I might as well not even have skin for all the good it does me. I could just be nerves, muscle, and bones and it wouldn't be any worse.

How did this happen?
I roll over one more complete turn; God just wants me to feel that warm asphalt pressed against my shredded body for one more second before letting me rest. I kind of wince in agreement; he's right, I deserve it.

There's a truck and some asshole in the cab who wont turn his headlights off. Everyone's looking at me. I close my eyes as the breeze picks up. The skin on the backs of my hands is gone, ripped off. I can feel the wind stabbing in there, into the soft red of my insides, vicious microscopic barbs of pain.

My knees and left thigh are raw too. I can feel a bone sharper than a piece of shrapnel poking through the skin on my forearm. My cheek is laying in a pool of blood. It's warm. This is no good.

* * *

I thought last night would be awful, but she took it rather well, so well it worried me. God, though, what a great liar. She couldn't act, but she lied like a siren sings. I told her we had to end it. In not such harsh words, I told her she was exhausting to be around.

But not being around her was even worse. When I was near her, for those few blissful hours, I could pretend it was okay. But I couldn't sleep, or eat, or laugh any other time. I couldn't write my bits or even put together coherent sentences. I was miserable and I knew she was destroying me. I would sit up at night, chain smoking, (I never smoked a cigarette in my life before Aurora) plotting out the way I would end it with her. I knew I'd have to be harsh, cruel.

"I never want to fucking see you again," I pictured myself saying, with cold eyes and that detached voice that audiences love for me to tell jokes in. But she'd know I wasn't joking.

The problem was she made me so wretchedly happy. I'd go into the club, to her apartment with my game face on, but she'd turn around, feel me coming up behind her, or open the door and I'd misplace my mind.

"Hi," she'd say, smiling the way she only smiled at me, the we-share-secrets-they'd-never-dream-of smile, and I couldn't go through with it. I'm too selfish.

Not to mention she's fucking perfect. No- worse than perfect. A horrible, intimidating beauty. Men knew they'd get their hearts ripped out just like flies know they'll be incinerated by flames, but neither care. Being the center of her attention was worth the scar it'd leave. A chunk of your heart was a fair price for actually being able to hold her interest, for being her interest.

I knew it, too. I knew enough to avoid her, but she found me.


I'd see her laughing in the low-lit corners with people who consider themselves my friends. She'd come to my gigs often enough that I recognized her laugh, could pick it out of the crowd and strove to hear it, to induce it. I heard her name being thrown around in my vicinity but I forced myself not to ask.

Mamma warned me bout' girls like her.

I wouldn't speak of her, but I thought about her constantly. I'd never even spoken a word to her, been within 10 feet of her, and I was writing jokes for her, noticing which strains of my humor she enjoyed and playing them up for the next show. I compelled myself not to look at her, positive I'd stutter and forget my stupid punch lines.

* * *

One night was amazing. My opening act, a guy named Robbie Collins set up my audience just right. They were amused and ready to be in tears. They died, they got me. The girl was in the corner with my friends and an entourage of her loyal followers. They must have clapped for five minutes.

Man I looked great up there that night. I stood while they applauded me; a little sweaty in the bright lights, cordless mic in hand, rubbing the back of my neck modestly in my favorite suit with the first two buttons undone. Yes, I deserved it.

Instinctively, I looked for her, nodding to my friends who were whooping and grinning, and she was smiling at me too, clapping. She tilted her head down and to the side and blushed. Like she was honored to have me looking at her. HA!


I showered in record time and came back out to a man waiting near the stage. Barry Bolton. Barry was impressed, he truly enjoyed himself he said. Barry was talking to FOX. How would I feel about a sitcom?

"I really think you could pull this off," he said sincerely, setting up a scene to tell the reporters if I ever made it big, how he discovered me.

We exchanged cards, he'd call me, he said.

I tried not to be too excited, I'd gotten bogus offers like that before. But damnit if this didn't feel like it. The big IT, the beginning of the rest of my life!

I turned around and there she was, sitting alone at the bar looking like a dejected beauty queen on prom night in some awful music video, swiveling back and forth on the barstool… waiting for me.

I strode up to her thinking, Fuck it. The night was already mine.

"Hi," I said, looking great because I was great, projecting success and confidence. Still, finally being so close, I felt a little sick.

She smiled and I swallowed hard, nonchalantly grabbing the edge of the bar to steady myself.

"Drink?" Sean The Bartender asked me.

I motioned towards her suavely. A gesture that said, Give her whatever she wants, I've got all I need. She shook her head no, closing her eyes for an instant.

My self-assured resolve was deserting me. Sean walked away and we were alone. Where were all my loud ass friends? She spun towards me on the stool until her knee hit the side of my thigh and she left it there.

"I think you're hilarious," she said.

Jesus Christ, how many people had said that to me? A million!

No one, ever. She was the first, the only.

"Good," I said.

"You were great tonight. I had to go fix my mascara because I was seriously crying. It was like I couldn't recover from one joke before I was laughing at the next."

Flattering, cliché, I didn't care. It was thrilling to entertain her.

"You could hire me as your personal jester... cheap."
Oh God, did I just say that? Man, am I that guy?

But she laughed and it made me lightheaded.
"How cheap?" She asked.

Alright, I was trapped. I'd humiliate myself willingly at this point. There was no more self-respect.

"Like free. I'd pay you," I said it seriously and she giggled again, thinking it was a line but I was dead ass serious.

"Careful, they call that prostitution in some states," she said.

Oh. Well, well, we're making sex jokes already?

"Come out to dinner with me." I meant that to be a question but it was a demand. I was already getting possessive.

She will be mine.

The thought of her leaving now was not a feasible option.

She raised her perfectly formed eyebrows, "And what if I've got plans?"

"Break them."

Was I being creepy? She looked at me like she was trying to figure out the same thing.

"Okay. But it better be someplace marvelous, my expectations are ridiculously high."

* * *

The first month was bliss. We dragged it out for so long, building the tension until we couldn't breathe around each other, until anticipation was imploding our lungs. It was like an unspoken agreement, to pretend we were 'just friends' until maniacal lust dominated my brain.

My obsession with her began to come out on stage. I was terrified the entire room would know exactly who I was talking about and the extremity of all the awful things running through my mind. They'd think I was a sexual deviant and lock me up. I was a threat to these people's children. They locked their doors as night because of guys like me.

But no, it was just a joke, they laughed and blushed looking up at each other through their eyelashes, embarrassed because they'd thought the same things, too.

She laughed, and when we met later she wouldn't mention it. The urge and awareness would hang in the air between us so thick I could taste it.

She was testing me, but it was insignificant compared to how I was testing myself. I was like a heroin addict shooting up whole bags at once, two at a time, just to see how high I could get without killing myself. To please her, was to please myself, because nothing was more satisfying than that look of puppy-like devotion she'd get when I did something right.

She liked surprises and she liked attention. I'd send 60 dollar bouquets to her work to make her friends jealous. Do you know how much Godiva chocolates cost? I do. A fucking lot. I bought her dresses because I wanted to see her wear them, I took her to the most elaborate restaurants I knew of, and only cooked things she'd never had before.

Home made macaroni and cheese. The poor girl had never had home made macaroni and cheese.

Anyway, I wouldn't say I was wasting my paychecks on her. Her responses were worth it.

I started finding little notes in my pockets after we'd go out.

You're the Greatest, she wrote once. Three words, meaningless and cheap, but I'd imagine her thinking them and knew how seriously she meant it.

She began calling me at night, knowing I'd be awake, and I'd listen to her sleepy voice tell me things she wouldn't remember in the morning. I'd hear her sheets ruffling in the background and imagine her cheek sunken into a pile of feathery down. How I wanted to be in that warm place.

And the best part, the worst part, I was almost content just talking to her. Did I actually have a friend?

"We're soul mates," she said while we sat on a cliff, overlooking a little farm town obscured by hazy pollution in the setting October sun.

I snickered and told her to shut up.

* * *

But eventually, I broke.

We had sex. We had one awesome night and everything went downhill from there.

I'd always felt the constant need to entertain her, but after I considered myself her boyfriend, it became a fulltime job that I nearly had anxiety attacks over. Aurora had a shitty childhood that I don't have time to go into right now, and I wanted to make her forget it. I wanted to be the savior, the only person that made her truly happy, the man she didn't have to give sympathy laughs to, or the synthetic smiles that barely concealed her loathing for them- everyone.

Every time we went out had to be the best time. 'High expectations' doesn't begin to express it. It wasn't anything she said or insinuated. It was a look in her eyes that told me how easily bored she was. I couldn't stand the thought of disappointing her; I was losing my mind. When she made plans that didn't involve me, I almost stalked her. Honestly, I would have, but I'm too damn lazy.

The worst part was that I couldn't talk to her, wouldn't let myself show any weakness.

"Have fun," I'd say with a smile when she left me to do something else.

If she knew my desperation, she'd laugh and humiliate me. Her self-esteem was actually low enough that it wasn't difficult to make her believe she wanted me more. It was what I relied on and played off. I forced myself to go out without her, just to hear her sad voice.

"How could you possibly be doing something better than hanging out with me?" She'd ask.

I'd huff like she was turning me off, annoying me. "Look, you go out. I can't spend every second with you, Aurora."

I was a sick man. This poor girl. I'd have asked her to marry me if I thought for one second she'd say yes and mean it.

"I love you," she said. It was bullshit, she just wanted to hear me say it back. I couldn't speak or I'd start crying. I just wished I could trust her with the truth but I knew she'd use it against me. She had all the power over me in the world and she was oblivious to it. Perfect.

* * *

Then, I panicked. It was my fault, I should have just told her she was my world and we could have lived happily ever after.

But I couldn't stop imagining how she'd leave me the moment I made myself vulnerable. For days, I ran through the infinite number of ways she'd annihilate my heart until I couldn't stand it.

Last night was the test, I realize that now. I told her it was over and all I wanted was for her to beg, cry, hang on to the back of my knee as I tried to walk away. Then I'd know she loved me. Then I would have told her everything and we could have been together, really together.

But there was no sobbing, only a few quiet tears. She asked why and said she understood. She said she'd miss me, but we couldn't be friends anymore because it'd be too hard for her, then she let me go.

Now that I've taken the Xanax, I know that was probably all the reaction her heart could force her brain to make.

God damnit.

* * *

I realized my mistake this next morning. Well, I woke up at noon after getting trashed last night, so, morning for me. I couldn't stand to be alone with myself, I missed her so much. What had it been? 15 hours, and already I was going insane.

It was one of those early December days that's not warm, but you can feel the last lingering pleasantness of autumn before everything shrivels up and dies... I felt optimistic, blinded in the midday sun, walking up the steps to her apartment. I would right everything and she'd be waiting for me like Sleeping Beauty.

I followed an old woman into the building and took the elevator to the 7th floor. I stood at Aurora's door, my heart bursting like it was my wedding day. By this point, I told myself I didn't even care if she took me back or not. I only wanted to tell her how much she meant to me. I wanted her to know that she could rely on me from now on. She could treat me like shit (which I knew she wouldn't because she was a good person, my Queen) for the rest of our lives but I'd be there for her, because I loved her… because she deserved it. She deserved everything. I'd defend her honor to the death. Anything. I'd pick up her dry-cleaning for fuck's sake.

I tried the handle, it was unlocked.

Everything was wrong.

In the living room, the balcony door was opened and the heat was on auxiliary to compensate for the cold air rushing in, fluttering the curtains. I checked for her outside before slamming the sliding glass door closed unnecessarily hard. The walls vibrated from the shock but the place was too still.

She never slept past 8. In fact, if she was upset, she'd still be up from the night before. Where was the smell of her awful tea? One of her indy chick rock bands should be complaining in the background while Aurora pretended not to know I was here.

"Aurora!" I yelled.

I didn't like the way my voice sounded, so paranoid.

No answer.

The bathroom door was closed but lines of light pressed out from the cracks. I opened it slowly, preparing myself, seriously expecting to see her dead, floating in the bathtub.

Come on, you know how this ends.

But she wasn't there.

Fuck, "Aurora!" My voice cracked that time.

She wasn't home. She'd left last night in such a frenzy that she forgot to lock the front door. I walked towards her bedroom, shaking.

Really, I knew. I could smell it in the air, taste the metallic in the back of my throat. I went into the bedroom and immediately looked up to prevent myself from vomiting, but also, I was talking to God. I was talking to the lesbian couple in the penthouse. I was talking to the ceiling fan, which was rotating pointlessly slow, only stirring up the scent of her blood.

"You've got to be fucking joking."
I must have stood there for a half hour, too scared to move or look at her. Eventually, my curiosity got the best of me.

I approached. Her thousand dollar lavender comforter was black from the two congealing circles of blood on either side of her naked body. I was beyond shock. I just wanted to understand, to be able to collect a picture of the last minutes of her life.

Only hesitating slightly, I reached out and lifted her left wrist, which I thought would be horrible and stiff but just felt like cold skin. The cut was deep and deliberate, just to the left of that thick tendon. I squeezed her forearm and a last stream of clotted blood oozed out. It traumatized me… I was fascinated.
The cut on her right wrist was shallower, not so sure. I wondered if she began to regret it or if she just couldn't get a good grip on the razor. I studied her face. The whole thing looked like a morbid avant-garde ad campaign or something. She'd done it so well; she knew I'd find her and she'd set it up to make me feel exactly the way I was. The bitch. The selfish bitch. It was her revenge, a practical joke I couldn't outdo.

Even her suicide scene looked like a work of art. I had the fleeting urge to call my photographer friend, Calvin. He'd kill to get this on film. It'd make him famous.

Is this really what I'm thinking while my girlfriend is laying dead in front of me?!

I looked around for a while, memorizing the room that I would never see again, smelling her clothes, taking little things I thought I was entitled to. There was a note that I wont read to you, there's a line in there to her worthless mother but the woman will never see it. It's fucking mine, it was meant for me.

I found the pill bottle on her nightstand and dumped out the little blue footballs next to her shoulder, counting them before pocketing them. I played with her hair for a while and started crying. I wanted to take her home and put her in my freezer so I wouldn't lose her.

The tears started as a dignified, silent thing, but I was bawling on the floor in about 30 seconds. I wanted to break things but I knew that'd piss her off -if I ruined her stuff- so I cried into the pillow next to her instead, feeling her blood soak into my clothes and not giving a damn. It was something else I could take with me.

I was exhausted and scared. I was laying next to a dead body and that just does something unsettling to a person. Because I didn't have a choice, I called the cops. I watched them jealously as they put her into a black bag. I asked to do it but they wouldn't let me. I didn't feel like they should have been allowed to look at her, let alone touch her.

They asked me questions I couldn't answer, all of their eyes saying the same thing, blaming me. I thought they'd arrest me out of spite.

"Does anyone have a cigg?" I asked because I'd left mine at home and they wouldn't let me leave to get more.

They ignored me.

They took me to the police station where I sat for an absurdly long period of time. But I was disappointed when it was over because that's exactly what it meant- it was over.

I let a cop drive me back to my bike in front of Aurora's apartment where I started crying again. What could I do?

I took a pill and drove away.

* * *

When the Xanax hit me, I really was feeling better, like I might be able to survive, come out of this thing stronger. But now I'm here, broken, waiting for the fucking ambulance to come, with people I've never seen telling me I'll be okay.

What the fuck do they know?

Aurora's letter is still in the pocket of my jacket and I know someone will find it at the hospital and give it to the cops; a thought I cant stand. Maybe they'll laugh at her words, or worse, get that patronizing look of pity and shake their heads slowly as they read the last line.

"How pathetic," they'd say. "Pretty girl, but Jesus Christ, what's wrong with the world?"

I'll dig their fucking eyes out.

I look around for an accomplice. Most of them are talking to each other with their arms crossed at the severity of the situation, waiting to see if I'll die before the ambulance gets here. There's a girl, maybe 19, standing behind her father as he talks to the man who hit me. She keeps glancing at me.

"Come here," my voice sounds like rocks grinding together.

She pretends like she doesn't hear, but her conscience must be bugging her because she slips away from the crowd in another minute and kneels by me. Not a completely unattractive girl. She's got a stud in her nose and hair that awful shade of burgundy that doesn't flatter anyone. Silver rings are around half of her fingers and she's got a tattoo on the inside of her wrist- the Buddhist symbol for Om. Can she help me, will she understand?

God, from the way her face is all twisted with horror, I must look like shit.

"The ambulance is coming," she says.

I try to swallow to make my voice intelligible but I've got no fluid left; it's lubricating the ground under me instead, pooling internally.

"I need you… favor," what the fuck, how can it hurt to talk?!

"What?" She asks.

There's no way I can explain what I want her to do so, slowly, with an absolutely absurd amount of pain, I get the letter from my jacket pocket and the lighter from my jeans.

"Burn it." Well that sounds lucid.

She looks at me like I just asked her to back over me with her Acura and finish the job.

"Please," I beg.

"What is it?" She asks, taking it, curiosity pushing her.

I close my eyes as she unfolds the letter and reads the first words. I cant stand to see her reaction, but I guess her reading it is a fair trade if she'll destroy it, too.

"Jessica!" Her father calls in a severe voice that makes her jump like she's about to get caught smoking pot in his basement.

She looks at the letter and at me, back and forth. She wants to read it, she wants to do me a favor, her dad is coming, there's no time for both.

She curses and -just before her father touches her shoulder- rips the letter into a thousand little pieces so fast I think I'm imaging it. Jessica drops the pile on the asphalt where it begins to absorb my blood. Perfect.

"Come on," her dad says, trying to pull her up.

She resists him and stares down at me with an expression I cant understand. It's pleading, pitying, and a little bit of desire.

She's crying and I smile, knowing how wrenched it looks.

"Hey, if I live… call me," I say.