The girl’s got a darkness that even the best spelunkers couldn’t spelunk. She looks like a light bulb but really, she’s a cavern, she’s the longest shadow in town, an alleyway shadow, a street lamp shadow, a shadow too shadowy for its own britches. To be more succinct, there is a place inside our protagonist that is the physiological equivalent of a black hole puckering its lips in some far corner of the universe. It’s a place that wants to be more like the stars, who radiate the kind of life-giving forces planets need to thrive, assuming they inhabit the Goldilocks zone. It’s a place, to be less scientific, that looks like a leaky bucket. You fill it up but after a while it spills out. You fill it up. It spills out. So she’s got a hole in her. Or two. She’s got a desperation about her. A mad desire for something achingly kindred, a furious need for mutual understanding, an absolute longing for Home. And the girl loves so hard it hurts. To be even more succinct, the girl loves too hard to let go in a reasonably healthy fashion. Hence the ideation at the overpass. Hence patterns of passionate love that don’t just peer over the edge of destruction, but plunge in completely.
The author supposes, having read what’s been written, that a little more showing and a little less telling might do the reader some good. So here goes:
They met on Tinder. Yes. Tinder. Anna didn’t even remember swiping right, not that Marlowe wasn’t memorable. On the contrary, she had eyes a goldfish would memorize to its dying day, eyes that reanimated the brains of dementia patients, eyes that flickered and gleamed the way a forest does at sunset. And she had cherry brown curls that fell in beach wave ringlets to her shoulders. And she had a smile. Oh that smile. It was a smile that stretched across her face like a rainbow across the rain soaked sky. It was a smile that made Anna melt, that weakened her already creaky knees, and unleashed two whole swarms of Monarch butterflies into her stomach. In terms of chemistry, theirs was volatile, the kind of mutual physiological reaction that’d set the whole lab on fire, that’d send the chemists running with their coats and panties at their ankles, yelling at everyone to evacuate the building. It was also the kind of chemistry that only the moon, the fat, waxing gibbous, and the sea, the briny briny sea, could understand. Theirs was the kind of chemistry that seemed to the exclusion of everyone else in the room, nay the world, the most important secret in the Universe.
The author will tell you that this secret is really no secret at all—that the whole point of this novel is to make the reader aware of their own capacity to get in on the action. And it’s a simple matter, really. Simple in syntax. In practice, things get… shall we say… heavy. But a lotus flower, to name a notable cliché, has got to go through all sorts of muck and sludge and dark, dark pond to get to the light. Kind of like a mole rat whose decided he’s had enough of the subterranean lifestyle. Kind of like a bear finally emerging from the Longest Hibernation Ever. Kind of like a soul awoken from an eternity’s aching slumber.
And that is what came of Anna and Marlowe. Well… at least for Anna. Marlowe’s part in this story is altogether brief. Because the author does not believe in telling love stories. Instead, the author believes that life—the real juicy stuff—happens when the heart lies in ruins, still throbbing with the ecstasy of yesterday, bleeding all over the good carpet, all over the city, searching for a new and equally significant high, all the while plunging like a lotus flower in reverse back down into the depths. So if you’re wondering what’s become of Marlowe, you’ll have to ask her, or stay tuned for some trite sequel, because this story is about Anna, about what happens when a girl falls for who she believes to be the mirror reflection of her soul, who she believes to be her destiny, her final frontier, the lone rose in her secret garden. About what happens when a girl, for all she knows, is dead wrong, and has to let go of thinking she has any fucking clue what life is about. And the story is about a Shaman who does. A Shaman whose apple pies’ll knock your tube socks right off.