Jane kept a picture in the inside pocket of her backpack, a black-and-white shot, one of those silly, pucker-up and pose type, the kind made to look “vintage”. They used to play around like that. Two girls trying on costumes and side-projects, always after an “anywhere but here” escape.
Hannah was a few years older. She wore that extra time on her skin in a way that made every move seem as natural as breathing. Jane longed to be at ease that way. To bend and smile and be just like her.
Hannah believed in ghosts, and in heaven. She believed in pixie dust and double cheeseburgers, too.
Jane always said she didn’t believe in anything at all.
They’d talk about things like that, lying close together on Jane’s single bed, listening to stacks of 80’s records that they’d picked out together, treasures from the church thrift store off of Ambrose Avenue. Jane loved the ones from her mother’s adolescence. They always sounded like they could be about her own. All that “new wave” sentiment sang out all the things she could never quite say. Those albums, they could confess all the things she’d never dare to speak out loud.
Hannah and Jane’s conversations filled in all the spaces between them. Hannah would empty another bottle of cheap wine, filling up the McDonald’s character glasses she’d inherited from her Aunt Cindy. They’d toast everything from last week’s poetry assignment to the existence of Montgomery Clift, or to their shared obsession with the movie, A Place in the Sun. Jane thought that Hannah could’ve played opposite Monty, her alabaster skin and indescribable eyes were made for the silver screen of old Hollywood. Hannah just laughed at the notion, sliding her sleeve up to show off her latest tattoo, reminding Jane that “starlets never inked angels on their skin”.
(No, just on their soul).
Hannah left a half-smoked pack of cloves, a dog-eared copy of Kerouac’s “On the Road”, and her All of This and Nothing album behind. Jane put them all together on the second shelf of her bookcase, with a postcard of Montgomery Clift and matches from Astro Burger. On nights when it hurt too much she’d light a candle with one of the matches and plays The Psychedelic Furs. In that flickering light, Jane swears she can hear Hannah singing-a-long to “The Ghost In You”.
Maybe now’s the time for Jane to start believing in something.
“The Ghost In You” by The Psychedelic Furs
from the album, All Of This and Nothing (1980)
Countdown to Halloween
Art by Sarah Joncas
Happy October 1st and happy October themed writing. This one is part of a project I’m contemplating – a collection of Flash Fiction stories about women and girls. This one is inspired by both The Psychedelic Furs song “The Ghost In You”, and the stunning piece entitled “Atropa Belladonna” by one of my favorite artists, Sarah Joncas.