If she'd been back home, she would have been able to drink by now. Legally. And isn't that funny, that there's that three-year-buffer between here and there and him and her? It's been three and a half years, to be exact, and the hole in her heart rips further, every day.
She does things she doesn't expect. Heavy bracelets on pale arms, weighing her down and she walks like a zombie. Back and forth, here and there. To and from. She takes strange looking shots in strange looking glasses bought for her by strange looking men.
She has some friends, and then she doesn't. Cassie forgets names, and places, doesn't know where home is, but knows the location of her apartment. Her body falls on the mattress every night, boneless, weightless and she sleeps but doesn't dream.
A litany of endless, hazy days.
She makes snow angels on the dirty Brooklyn sidewalk in two inches of freshly-fallen, and she she stands to admire them, she hops carefully out of the void. Because they're perfect, and she likes to think that she's created something perfect, if only for a second. It sends her into a spiral, seeing them fill up with snow.
She wants to take a pill and doesn't eat for days.
There are emails and phone calls on her disposable and she seldom answers because what would she say? She's lucid? For maybe the first time in her life? And she hates it? Because all of that is true.
And it's not the going home and being judged that frightens her, it's the notion that everyone is forgotten in one way or another. She plays music on a loop because it makes her feel like she's slipping away.
The cars here are louder, the people are friendlier but they all want something and all Cassie knows is how to give and give until there's nothing left.
It's always underground when she dances, all black, black, black and glitter on her eyes and she moves and forgets about everything and only allows herself to think about him. How she could have fallen for someone like Sid, how was she even in the right mind to do so. How maybe she fucking misses him, or some amalgamation of longing.
Limbs sticky and hair soaked with sweat she wanders the street until her high wears off and she stumbles along curbs and corners and sleep-but-doesn't dream, does it all over again.
If there were any control to begin with, she might be out of it, but there was never any real rhyme or reason, was there? Just a drive to be sought and a desire to fade away painlessly. So many juxtaposing emotions pulling at her from every which way, and there's only so much more she can take before her mind rips in two, separates from her.
Cassie is tipped well, because she's young and she's pretty and she looks like she's missing something, like she needs help, like she needs someone. And even the vagrants and the criminals and the down-and-outers feel for her. There's that yearning inside of her and she tries not to, but it's tattooed on her sleeve.
Can't shake it.
She's lying flat on her stomach, head tilted so she can stare up at the stars through a window that she put her fist through last week. An accident at the time, she'd wondered what would have happened if the bleeding just hadn't stopped.
Her eyes seek out the bright ones, but in the city there's only a faint yellow glow and few specks in the sky fight against the haze surrounding it. She can't see the stars and it makes her so crazy sometimes.
Cassie picks at her nails and bites at her lip and feels small inside of her clothes and she can't find the stars and she's sad, sad, sad.
Running her fingers over a stagnant water glass by the bed, she thinks about the last time she showered, and how she's not sure she has the energy for that anymore. Not sure she has the energy for living anymore.
It's a 'what's the point' type thing, she supposes, dips her fingers into the glass and swirls and swirls until the dirt washes off of her fingers.
She's seeing the water back and forth when there's a buzzing. A truly heinous noise indicating that there's someone buzzing her and just like every real apartment in New York, her intercom doesn't work.
Cassie dances down the stairs, remembering at the last second, before tossing open the door, to look through the peephole.
And he's standing there, sure but not, real yet a figment of her imagination and her hand works of it's own accord to turn the nob and open her world to him.
The picture he holds of her is tattered and creased but smooth; he's treated it well, but months of passing it between strangers' fingers have aged her, withered her. When he hands it to her, she takes it but doesn't look, has to find his eyes. (Are there still stars there? Are there?)
"Hey," is what he says first and his hair is longer and he's scruffy and he looks like he's aged too. But different. Sid has grown into his bones, become longer.
Cassie's eyes widen and she feels the photo paper in between her fingers and thinks 'wow' and 'wishful thinking' and everything else she's ever thought that's good. "Hello."
His eyes reach up the stairs, past her, to the inside to her apartment and she turns and follows his gaze, knowing nothing, knowing absolutely nothing to say but "Come in?"
His feet shuffle inside, his Vans are beaten up and dirty and so him and she almost smiles. But she doesn't. It takes practice to get back into that sort of thing and she's not sure she's ready for that just yet.
But she leads him, up, up, up the staircase, past the second, third and fourth floors to the fifth, presses her hands against peeling paint and pushes her door open, allowing him inside. And he looks around like he cares, but they both know he doesn't.
There's no tour given, no catching up, nothing. Because she's slowly wasting away and maybe it's time that he saves her? But that's too much to ask,, she's almost certain of it.
"It's been a long time," he claims, and almost doesn't know what to do with his hands.
She walks to him and it's a storm, the way she tosses herself into his chest, her arms twining around his neck so desperately that she doesn't know if she's honestly be able to let go.
"No," she responds. "It's been every day, Sid."
"Yeah, guess it has," and his hands lock on his elbows and he squeezes her so hard she's afraid she'll shatter. She wants to shatter, right into him.
Cassie digs her face into his neck and thinks about taking a shower and wonders how far it is to get back home and if she'll ever free him from her embrace.
It's too fragile.
"You kept me in your pocket?" it's quiet, ringed with awe and guilt and everything she's been without for the past years.
Sid digs his head down too, into her shoulder and presses a hard kiss there, "Yeah."