This girl was something out of a painting or a colored glass depicted by the windows of a church.
Everyone knew who she was, her only image and behavior was widespread in the media's slang. Urban graffiti artists had painted her torso on the walls of schools, somehow Moms Against Child Sickness (MACS) had gotten a picture of her and printed it on all their flyers, people constantly drew her, thought of her, referred to her...
Hell, they made a children's book off of her. Something like the "Sleeping Princess."
And all without her own, physical consent.
She was so infamous because she was always sleeping. You see, she was hit by a car as a young child, it was the night of her star performance as the Lithium Princess in her school play, and she ended up in a coma.
She was the longest coma patient the continent had seen yet, nothing could revive her, and nothing could reverse the effect.
What made her a candidate of such infamous rumours and gossip and overall media coverage?
The fact that she was still alive in her coma was amazing, but she was beautiful too, her pale skin making her look like a porcelain doll, and her hair was healthy and beautiful, it was pulled back from her forehead and ran down the length of her body, almost at her knees; and it came up cradled her round face, outlining her prominent facial features, with her small nose, puffed lips, and delicate cheekbones.
She was the picture of perfection, even with flaws that seemed to work in her favour, and some people dared to call her an angel. They were all right, of course.
Her parents had wanted to preserve a picture perfect memory of her, keeping her in the same clothes she wore when she was put in the accident, her outfit being custom-fitted as she grew older and her body matured subconsciously. They never cut her hair or put make up on her, but they always kept an eye out on her features. They always wanted to emphasize her natural beauty even when she was in a coma.
And they went sorely over the top with it.
But it was perfect, and it put everyone in trances. It helped make a charity for her future expenses as staying, as it seemed, the permanent patient of the Quartz hospital. It inspired people, gave people hope, and the girl became the face of hope.
She was now nineteen years old. It had been eleven years since the fateful day of her injury. The same that put her in the hospital.
There was no one in her room. The nurses already had a live feed to her EKG from outside her room if it ever changed.
Fans and the like of hers were always kept out. They made mock performances of transporting her to different hospitals on a bi-monthly basis, to avoid too much publicity at one hospital. It was bad for her health as well as other patients'.
Her room was always empty, and the same color as her hair.
Maybe one thing that called out to them about her appearance was the way her hands were clasped together over her chest. As if she were praying.
I sighed and dropped her favorite flowers nonchalantly onto the nightstand right by her. Eleven years of buying her flowers.
Taking a seat by a desk near the window, I pulled it over near Richea's bed, sitting down on it and crossing my arms over the bed, resting my chin above the intersection of my wrists.
"I love you."
The quiet, half-sincere words were hazily muttered from my lips, as if I were half-asleep. Probably.
I was freaking tired, and wanted nothing more to do than go to sleep.
But I haven't been able to sleep since I was seven years old.
I was a messed up guy. And she was probably the source of my problems. I hadn't been able to get over my guilt, my innocence, my feelings...
And the worst part was I could never do anything but grow old, because I couldn't move on from her.
They say you can't fall in love with someone you've never met.
But I've known her far longer than that.
Some think that it's impossible to know what love is at a young age.
But I can easily refute that statement.
She is dead to me, but is all I live for. Her weak heartbeats always make my heart beat painfully in my chest, pounding at my ribcage and begging for a release.
Sometimes, I couldn't stand it.
She was the most tragic person I had ever met, and this was by far the worst tragedy I have ever seen.
And that's what draws me back to her. This is what draws us all to her image.
She's so angelic, so beautiful, and there will always be one to take that away from us. Her beauty will never live. Her hope will never take action, because she will always be eight years old and I will be eighteen and she will have been confused and scared. She would be a time traveller because she had slept for so long.
And she would die.
She would no longer be the Sleeping Princess, she would lose all her radiance, her beauty, and the mystery in her that made people gain hope.
Maybe she was meant to be like this.
The object in a display case, unable to be actually used.
We can all gawk, and wonder, and think about her. But she will never be saved.
She had died once she turned ten and I nine.
This is the woman I love. Her body is no more than a tombstone wrapped in bedsheets the color of her still-alive hair and her cheeks are still flushing with red blood.
The woman I still love after death.
Lithia Spodune, the Sleeping Princess.
"I love you." I say louder this time. I said at least a million times. I visit her once a day if I can't more.
And I always mean it.
I poke at her elbow. But there is never a response.
She is still in her princess costume, now fitted to her older body, but still complete with a crown and jewels placed around her neck. She is still a child. She is still the Lithium Princess.
And I will always be doomed to love her.