She walked towards me, curly hair, a spray of freckles across her sunburnt nose and thick rounded brows quirked in preparation for a gap-toothed smile. The image was sepia-toned, enhanced by a serenity she always brought with her. Then it shifts.
Her hair falls lank against a swollen cheek, skin fades to a lifeless grey, she spits her gold caps out, revealing rotten teeth and a wide gaping mouth. It swallows me and I fall choking on seawater, drowning just as she did last winter.
I hate waking up, she lives in my dreams a citrus-scented ghost of warm days and gentle breezes, and it was worth dying every night to hold her hand again. I whisper her name, over and over, a spell without any power.
"Aurelia." My toe twitches. "Aurelia." My arm moves. "Aurelia." My eyes open. Seaweed is wrapped tightly around my body, slippery snakes caressing my skin. I roll over, almost falling into the rushing river that lies to one side of me. I reach out, salt-crusted nails brush the water's edge and a trout gazes up forlornly.
The image of a girl flashes in my mind, it feels as if she was important to me, but dying changes you and I can't quite seem to care about anything, no that's a lie, I'd kill for a ham, cheese (with just a little mayo) sandwich.
A singer drones on about love over the radio while I tie my shoelaces, I don't think he's managed to capture the essence of heartbreak, It's not his fault, he's just never met a girl like Aurelia. Losing her has manifested itself in some weird ways.
Eating cereal has become depressing, I can't even sit in my garden without seeing the marigolds she planted in the spring. I'm reminded of her at every corner, this town has been tainted by a past I can't get back to.
I never realised how intertwined our lives were; knotted tightly together until It suddenly unravelled -I'm at the loose end.
My clothes have dried, but they don't fit right, hanging off my body as if tailored for someone several feet taller. It was all dark tones, mainly black, It washes me out, fashionable funeral attire has never been my style. It belongs to the lanky girl with knobbly knees and owl eyes.
She's embedded in my mind, a face I haven't been able to forget, even in death. Reaching into her pocket I find the keys to a motorcycle, the muscles in my face ache and groan as I smile for the first time in a year.