I gasped, eyes wide, though I wanted to shut them. A friend of mine who knew what I had been going through looked from me to the flower bed, and back at me. He wrapped his arms around my head and shoulders and whispered into my hair, “It’s okay. Whatever it is, it isn’t real.”
And even though I’d been seeing Sam and Jessie on the sidewalk outside of my body, I didn’t need my eyes open to witness her murder. With my face buried in my friend’s leather jacket and my eyes squeezed shut until I saw red and purple splotches behind my eyelids, I saw Sam slit her throat. He tossed her body into the bed of dead roses, heads bent like badgered dogs. That’s all she was worth to him: an object lesson to keep me quiet.
I felt wafer-thin in that moment. I didn’t want to be touched for fear I would snap clean in half, but my friend almost had to carry me into the restaurant where I sat, wordless, for the rest of the night.