She sent me gifts. Gorgeous handmade robes, and visions of rivers. The robes were made of many colors and cloths. So beautiful, stitched together by hand, while she was away. She got out, and would come to see me. Would show up out of nowhere. I would be nervous for her, embarrassed of her craziness. She would stay long enough to go crazy again, and then someone would call the center, and the men would come get her. She would be strung out on drugs, or manic, insane, fighting them like a wild animal. I would watch them take her, not knowing what else to do. She would get out again (escape) and come to see me. She was homeless. Beautiful. Thin, tall, wild. In her moments of lucidity, she was like a poem. Beautiful and heartbreaking. She could make me laugh. But I was always afraid of her. The time before last, she came to me. She was high. She was flying next to me, watching me, her body flowing out behind us, while I watched her. She was so beautiful. We got drunk together. I barely remember… The next day they came to get her, and I was the only one she would talk to or trust. When she saw that I had held her, tricked her, so that they could come, she flew into a rage. I held her and held her and she finally went cold and angry and silent. Catatonic if not for the seeping rage. I led her by her frail wrist to the assembled council of the center, me begging for someone to give her another chance, while they all looked away, one by one. Finally a man looked back at her and me and agreed to try to help. He wasn’t scary or menacing. He truly wanted to help, but his methods were terrifying. Drugs, shock treatment. She turned to me and pleaded, grabbing my hands, screaming, as 6 men pulled her away. She fought and fought, her eyes on mine the whole time.
Once she was gone, I started having dreams. I had a new tattoo on my left breast that I remembered she had given me the night we got drunk together. I dreamed about that night and what we had done. How close I felt to her. How ashamed… how I had used alcohol to free me enough to be with her. We laughed like little girls and she gave me my beautiful tattoo and at the end, in the black out darkness, I kissed her.
Eventually she came back. Escaped again, but came back to me. My father was there, and he was terrified of her wildness. He wanted to catch her and hand her straight over to the center. I told him if he took one step towards her she would disappear. He wouldn’t listen, and we spent a long time in a standoff with her 30 feet away, always keeping an exact distance from every step he took towards her. I finally convinced him to leave so that I could talk to her. We sat down on the steps, and she showed me a coin purse she had made out of an old blue bikini top. I told her she could keep it, but she looked confused and told me I’d asked her to make it for me the night we got drunk together. I showed her my tattoo. She laughed and said, “I was nervous about doing that, but you begged me. You insisted you wanted it.” I told her yes, I had wanted it. We sat on the steps, and she showed me memories of drinking a milky white substance that made her fly. Of men who had trapped her and hurt her. She showed me all of the beautiful robes and dresses and silk patchwork clothes that she had sewn. I told her she could sell them and make money and not have to go to the center. I saw my father standing off to the side, and knew they had been called. I told her that we needed to walk up the hill, to go to see a show together. She said, why are you doing this? I said, No, it’ll be fun. I want to see this with you. She knew I was tricking her, trapping her, and her eyes went dead. She following me up the hill, but turned into a deer and tried to escape. I held onto her, around her long thin neck, while she bucked and shuddered and struggled to get away. I finally was able to put a thin white rope around her neck. She struggled and her eyes were huge, and she was ready to bolt at every step, but she slowly followed me. Another family member came to stand with us, to help if she tried to get away. She kept looking at me with her giant, terrified eyes, asking me why? I told the family member to give us a moment, and they reluctantly left. I got down on my knees and looked into her eyes. She turned back into a woman, and was so afraid. Why are you doing this? (I could see the men from the center closing in). I have to, I said, they’re coming. They would have caught you the hard way, and hurt you. But I know you’re going to be okay this time. Why? she said. Because — and it came to me in a huge flood of emotion — I love you. I am in love with you. Her eyes went cold and hard and angry like I was fucking with her. I held onto her face, and stared into them, and she saw the truth. The men from the center came to get her as I was kissing her. On our knees, clutching each others necks. I was crying telling her again and again that I loved her. They were dragging her away from me. She was fighting to get back to me. Finally she surrendered, being borne away by, head bobbing, being carried, looking directly into my eyes. And she smiled. We both knew that my love would heal her.
I woke up and sobbed and sobbed and held onto her face and feeling for as long as possible before they slowly started to fade.