The Women Without Names

I still think about her sometimes. I base fictional characters off of her without realizing it. Dark skin, sexy laugh. Sometimes I think she had glasses, but she didn’t. That was a different girl. The girl I think about was Australian and I knew her for one night. There were six of us, maybe. We walked the beachside and laughed at our differences. The nameless Australian girl walked beside me. Just me.

“I like Australian accents,” I said. Real charmer.

“I don’t have an accent,” she said. “You do.”

I believed her.

We all went to a hotel and drank cheap, boxed wine, passing it around even though most of us met for the first time that night. The intimate moments we share with strangers.

“Cheers, mate,” she said as I passed her the wine. I don’t remember her name, but I remember the way she said those two words. I remember holding her later. I remember that she didn’t wear glasses.

It was a week later that another nameless girl knocked on my door. I wanted to be alone, so I hid myself away with my sketchbook and I drew something-whatever with a mechanical pencil I had handy. I answered the door.

“Hey. People were asking about you.”

“I’m here.”

“I’m going to get my tongue pierced. You want to come with me?”

We wandered for a while. She asked me why I was alone. I don’t remember what I said. I think I told her that sometimes I keep things too close to the chest, because I remember her reply.

“You told me about the bubble.” The bubble was my hometown. A suburban utopia closed off from the real world.

“Yeh, I guess I did.”

We found a relatively clean place.

“You don’t have to watch.”

“I’ll be right here.”

I watched her facing profile with her tongue sticking flat out of her mouth like a pink diving board. I watched the needle go straight through the top of her tongue and out the bottom. I watched the tear fall from her eye. She never made a sound as the stud went in.

She had a lisp the rest of the time I knew her. I made fun of her for it. We danced together as a band of midnight beachside buskers played jazz and clapped for us.

I don’t remember her name. I’m sure I have it written down, but the memory is more important than the name. The person is more important.

There was a French girl on a train. I never knew her name because I never spoke to her. She had a wide-brimmed hat and wavy red hair and rosy cheeks and it’s possible I’m misremembering and projecting all of this detail but I remember her as someone who took my breath away. And I was there, a couple seats down, unshowered and disgusting and wishing I spoke French and glad I couldn’t speak French because then I would have to speak to her and I wouldn’t know what to say, even though I could say it if I did. I would ramble, just like that, but in a more romantic tongue, and maybe that would be okay because French always sounds like rambling anyway, and I’m very good at rambling (clearly), and I might find myself a skilled French rambler.

I never spoke to her. Another nameless woman. Nameless moments in my life.

It’s easy to love someone whose name you don’t remember. For five minutes or five years. Nothing can stop you. They mean nothing because they have no name, but they mean everything because they’re the reason you’re you.

Don’t forget them.

– H.

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