Lily

Lily is a fish out of water. Correction: a fish eater. No, that’s just a detail. A fishy, strange, gilled creature. Breathing in the San Francisco air as easily with her ninety year old Nana as with her oldest and newest friends. Does this make any sense? It  makes sense to Lily. Well, not really, making sense isn’t the point. Don’t you just want to be loved? That’s what Nana says. Lily just smiles and crosses off the pedantic people off her invite list to her happily ever after in the sunset. Strange pink, blue, rainbow gills. They grow around the eyes you know.

They settle quietly, unnoticed, sneak in during the turmoil of an accident. Or maybe it’s the opposite. Maybe they just grow as you grow. Making her innocent by experience, not lack of thought. Who needs a joy ride in terror when you’ve got an imagination like that. Pretty little life forces.
Jasper is a life force. Not like Lily’s ex. This one’s a charmer. A real hooligan. But in a sweet, pleasing way that makes him undeniable, fun to argue with, fun to fondle, fun to step on but not too hard. Lily wouldn’t anyway. She loves Jasper too much. She loves people too much.

Lily loves her neighbors, her neighbor’s cats. She loves Matt from across the street, the one that works in that sad little pizza shop. Lily adores the sentimental walks that take her into their own satisfying world every time she travels eight blocks down from her apartment to meet with Dana. You know, the only female fire fighter Lily knows. Then again, how many people know even one fire fighter? Surely Lily knows them all, in her heart at least. They wouldn’t even need to introduce themselves. She already knows them, their insides, and soon they would realize they know her too. She’s so familiar she might very well be strange. You might forget Lily, but you’ll never forget the way she made you feel. And when you feel displaced and in need of familiarity Lily’s face will suddenly find its way back into your immediate memory. Out of the storage files and into the frontal lobe. Naturally, like she had never gone anywhere. And that’s when you call Lily and tell her: I need to talk to someone. Go ahead, she’ll understand.

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