I tucked my hand into Anya’s armpit and guided her into the bathroom. I closed the door behind us.
Anya immediately dropped to her knees and began puking into the toilet. A lot of it splashed onto the toilet seat, which was still down.
I angled in from the side and flipped the seat up.
Anya retched violently, her body convulsing.
I rubber her shoulder, as Janine had done.
Anya emptied out everything that was inside her.
When she was done she raised her head from the toilet.
Her eyes were glassy. Puke moistened her mouth and the edges of her hair.
I tore off strips of toilet paper and held them out to her.
Your mouth, I said.
She wiped her lips around her mouth.
Did I get it?
Would you kiss me right now?
I was just wondering if you would kiss me right now, with the puke and everything. Am I too disgusting to kiss right now?
My pulse spiked. It was fast and prickly.
Anya closed her eyes and stuck out her neck. Her lips were slightly parted.
Anya, I said.
She began laughing. It was a hollowed-out laugh, void of warmth.
Anya, she repeated in a dreamy tone. Her eyes remained closed.
I looked down at her.
There’s also some in your hair.
Anya’s eyes popped open.
Help me stand, she ordered with vigor.
I clutched Anya’s arm and helped her to her feet.
She stared into the medicine cabinet mirror.
I can’t even see myself, she said. My vision is out of whack.
Am I even here, she laughed, a soft, curdling laugh.
You’re here, I assured her.
I pinched her forearm.
I pinched my own forearm.
Me either. Guess we’re both not here.
We’re ghosts, Anya smiled. Haunting our own lives. Can you help me clean the puke out of my hair?
I turned on the water, regulating it until warm.
Tilt your head to the right, I guided Anya. A little lower. Good.
I placed the puke-stained strands of hair under the running water.
The soft frizz of Anya’s hair, combined with the warm water threading between my fingers, put me at ease.
I told Anya to switch sides and tilt left and I started rinsing.
When I was done I grabbed a towel from the towel-rack and dried the ends of her hair.
Good as new.
You’re an amazing beautician, Anya smiled.
She looked into the mirror.
I still can’t see myself. Not completely. I’m a smudge. You’re a smudge too.
We’re impressionistic, I said.
We’re ghosts haunting our own lives, Anya reminded me.