Chapter Forty Four

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Dear Diary,

He found me, curled up in a dark corridor lined with flickering fish tanks. I was lost, so lost - I couldn’t find my way. I had got that far after a blurry scramble across New York, over the bridge into Brooklyn. The aquarium. I couldn’t figure out why they wanted to go there. Spend the evening beating someone up then go to an aquarium?

I kept seeing images of Marilyn in my mind – round and around – with her colourful little outfits, her pigtails swaying, smiling and fawning over Leo. God she’d always been the same. Always hanging on, always there – invited or not – spreading gossip, lying. I wondered how long it had taken her to find a crack big enough between us to get her claws in and rip us apart. She must’ve been delighted when I started seeing Farley.

I searched through the aquarium twice before Leo found me – Lord only knows what the children and their parents thought about me stalking the place still dressed in a floor length gold dress speckled with blood. I was hardly conscious of myself; the memories of it now are filled with spaces I can’t fill.

I do remember feeling like I was alone, very much alone, wandering inside this eerie, shimmery world of blue waters and darting fish. After I had walked along the same corridors again and again not seeing any sign of Marilyn I began to think she wasn’t there. They must’ve changed their minds, gone to bed or something.

I flopped myself down in a quiet spot and probably would have cried and slept there all day if Leo hadn’t found me. I felt almost nothing when I focused on his familiar face bearing down on me through the blackness.

I watched his mouth move, hearing only sounds, hardly registering his concern. It was only when he mentioned Farley – the fact that he had woken for a moment – that I felt a blink of hope. Through the exhaustion that hung like an anchor around my neck I pulled myself up and followed along behind Leo to find her.

Together we must’ve looked liked extras from a horror movie escaped from a cocktail party scene or something. Leo pulled me along by the arm. People kept looking at us – more of them by now – families, groups of schoolchildren walking around in pairs. We flashed past coral reefs, otters, seahorses.

Eventually we arrived at the largest tank in the aquarium. A humongous wall of glass teeming with sea life behind it. Sharks swam among jellyfish, teams of fish sped about the rocks at the bottom. I saw her first. Stood next to Cheryl laughing and pointing at an octopus in the tank.

‘Oh God,’ I said, as I filled up with dread.

At that point I would’ve rather sunk down into the concrete never to be seen again. I forced myself forward anyway.

‘Leo!’ said Marilyn. ‘You’re here?’

Her face smiled with a joy that looked so fake I almost vomited. Amongst it, as we moved forwards towards her, there was an almost unrecognizable moment where her face flashed with fear. It was fleeting but I saw it.

Cheryl looked at us in amazement.

‘Guys, what are you doing here? You look kind of weird,’ she said.

We all ignored her. Jez and Lambert stood to the side, peering at us with questioning eyes. We ignored them too.

‘I know what you did,’ I said, as we arrived in front of Marilyn.

Cheryl moved to the side, dumbfounded.

‘Huh?’ said Marilyn. ‘I didn’t hear you.’

‘I know what you did,’ I said.

I willed my voice louder. She moved her legs slightly apart as if to root herself to the ground.

‘I don’t know what you’re trying to say. You look tired, maybe its best if you go to bed and we can talk after you’ve had a good sleep,’ she said.

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