Psychopomp

The first time I saw her I had just left a party.

It was the middle of the fucking night, and she just stood there on the opposite corner, one dark shadow amongst other shadows. I wouldn’t have noticed her but for the fuck-off huge raven or crow or whatever that swooped over my head to land on her shoulder. The sound of its wings was like thunder and I shied away from it as its feathers clipped my temple.

I was pretty sure I was still high. Who the fuck has a pet crow? (Or raven, or whatever.)

Her form was hazy with the smoke from her cigarette and even though she didn’t move a muscle I had to squint to keep her in focus. She didn’t look back at me, didn’t meet my eye, but somehow I think she knew I was there.

I opened my mouth to call to her but her crow (or raven, or whatever) beat its wings and I blinked.

And she was gone.

 

The second time I saw her I was leaving the same party, only one year later.

I leant on a boys arm. No, I don’t remember his name. Anyway, it doesn’t matter.

My hand was bleeding, I think I had cut it on broken glass.

I think I threw the glass.

We stood on the same corner waiting for the light so we could cross and walk together into the dark and have the kind of sex you only have when you’ve seen one too many horror movies in one night and are terrified of being alone.

It was raining, the kind of fine mist which makes the entire world seem off balance and insubstantial. Where she stood on the opposite corner seemed somehow closer and further away than anything ever before. The fluorescent lamplight made her incandescent and I swear to god I had never seen anything more beautiful in my life. She met my eye and they were two blue will-o-the-wisps pulling me towards her.

A truck roared around the corner and my one night stand pulled me back.

“Woah, don’t stand so close to the curb, we nearly died!”

The-boy-at-my side-whose-name-was-inconsequential-although-he-didn’t-know-it chuckled, the sound falling flat and dead in the silence. When I looked up again she was gone.

The only sound was the scream of laughter of some bird.

 

The third time I saw her it was perfect.

I was walking home from work, tired, alone. I would have been afraid except for the autumn silence falling all around. Leaves like skeleton fingers skittered across my path, caught up in a small flurry of breeze. I followed them with my eyes and looked up to see her just across the road. She was so close.

There was no hand to hold me back when I stepped out towards her, with her inviting smile and hands spread wide in welcome.

There was some kind of commotion behind me but the sound was muffled and far away so I paid it no mind.

I touched her and she was cold, cold as ice, cold as the grave. I kissed her and she took the breath from my lungs and made it holy. She held my hand and we walked along the dark street together, no sound around us but for the rush of wings.

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