By Rijn Collins

July 10, 2017


The bartender called me the nickname I hadn’t heard in a decade. 

‘Been a long time, hey?’ 

I frowned, waiting for my past to flood through me and wash his name into place. When it did, the glass almost slipped from my hand. 

‘About fifteen years,’ I murmured, thinking, please don’t; please. 

His voice was gentle, as though I might flee. 

‘You look wonderful…you’re a woman now.’ 

The blue of his eyes were paler than I remembered, but the huge pupils told me his demons still hadn’t been put to rest. 

‘I know we promised to keep in touch after our release, but…’ He let the breath build in his chest, then released it in one low rush of air. 

There hadn’t been many other teenagers on the ward. I’d watched the obsessive-compulsives, addicts and anorexics, admired the rainbow of pills in my palm, and listened to the speech slur from my mouth, thinking, I am not one of you. 

But I was. 

So was he. 

And there you go. 

I wanted to ask about Layla, had they kept in touch, did she have children to bounce on her hip? But I was afraid he’d ask of Callum, whose demons kicked him out of a fifth-story window one moonless night. 

He reached out suddenly, and caught my upper arm. 

‘But tell me…how are you?' 

The answer leapt from my lips. We both smiled as it soared into the air; a word of magic and truth and gold. 


Comments (17) - Post a Comment
Ohhhh, be still. Take a deep breath and let the words between the lines sink in.Lovely.
Polly Magargal at 8:11am EDT - July 10, 2017
Susan at 8:31am EDT - July 10, 2017
Beautiful moment.
Andrea Rotterman at 9:19am EDT - July 10, 2017
This piece - the way it's written and its subject - made me stop everything and sink into my center.
Carol D Marsh at 9:44am EDT - July 10, 2017
Suffering, healing and hope. Thank you for this beautiful piece.
Barbara Belland at 10:06am EDT - July 10, 2017
A wonderful and courageous piece that reveals much. It resonates with me by displaying how the act of writing itself becomes a part of our healing.
Tom Leskiw at 10:25am EDT - July 10, 2017
A lovely piece of how you have come far to who you are now. Again, it's lovely.
rae johnson at 10:56am EDT - July 10, 2017
Scott at 11:06am EDT - July 10, 2017
Love this--really well written!
Hayley LeMay at 2:41pm EDT - July 10, 2017
As spare and sharp as a filleting knife. Rijn Collins is the real thing.
Christopher Hawkes at 2:26am EDT - July 11, 2017
So beautiful. Just stopped me in my tracks. Thanks.
Margaret Faye Jones at 5:39pm EDT - July 11, 2017
I love this so much. Beautiful
Charlene McLellan at 9:28pm EDT - July 12, 2017
... perfect
Jutta Pryor at 10:16pm EDT - July 13, 2017
Beauty and heartbreak in the same breath!
Mary Ellen Gambutti at 7:13pm EDT - July 16, 2017
Love this! xx
Bec at 10:00pm EDT - August 2, 2017
Reading your work is always an affecting journey... Thank you
James W. Barnes at 11:36pm EST - November 9, 2017
Lovely and powerful writing about something we all struggle with, or know someone who does.
Lisa Doucette at 7:32pm EST - December 19, 2017

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