So this is what you don’t see: a graveyard.

Rows and rows of headstones, I painted a grey night without stars. Maybe if you had graveyards here, this is what it would look like. Paint a moon on your sky and clouds. Gnarly-fingered trees are reaching.

It is not a well-kept place. Stones are broken and fallen. Dry leaves on the ground for the noise it makes to walk on them. The iconography of horror means nothing here. And yet I can touch the heavy taste of the air closing in. How can I read all the tombstones when it is so dark?

Because I know what they say. There is my name on all of them, each single one: me, me, me. There lies the girl that dreamt of growing up normal. Sometimes I can still hear her whisper dreams in my head.

The lies the woman that dreamt of fortune and fame and acclaim. Her words are buried beside her. In the darkest nights, the ground still moves. The headstone of the sweet one has fallen over just as easily as the dreams of marrying the first love and settling down with kids and a dog.

I am not a dog person. I am even less of a kids person. That one is forgotten, a wisp of smoke indistinguishable from the clouds. The list goes on and on. There have been so many of me.

This is what you don’t see: it is all of us.

When I see you, I know there is a graveyard like this behind your eyes. We buried many people to be where we are today. We do not talk about the dead. They haunt us. They shine through our eyes and we cannot help it.

They say the dead don’t return for an encore and it is a lie. We live them every day. It’s okay. I will not tell on the small bodies in your backyard. Knowing who you left behind makes a strong case. I will hear you out.

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