My Imaginary Boyfriend, Finale

Previous episode:

My favorite singer is Taylor Swift. I don't have a favorite song, or a favorite album. But I associate each individual song or album of hers with something particular - maybe an emotion, or an event, or a person.

Some are more obvious connections. I can't listen to "Best Day" without imagining myself singing to my mom for Mother's Day or at my wedding. "I'm Only Me When I'm With You" may have lyrics featuring romance, but ever since watching the music video, it makes me think of my best friend Mikaela. Generally I get this vague idea of taking a road trip with her.

I did that once. It changed my life.

None of Taylor's songs or albums affect me more than Red. I will never hear Red - the song or any of the others from the album - without thinking of Rykel.

Electric eyes that look like coming home, like the clear blue sky over my parents' house in the middle of October. Half-head of shaggy blond hair, sometimes spiked up out of the way, sometimes flopping over those piercing eyes.

Tattoos, two tasteful patterns, one arm apiece, with stories I never learned and never will. An entire history, a lifestyle, of which I only ever saw a tiny peek. Strong, muscled arms under one of five ripped and faded t-shirts, three of them advertising that aggravating rock band.

Piercings, scattered over both ears and eyebrows, none actually made of metal because metal and electricity don't mix well. Electricity... a pulsing blue light that scared me and drew me in all at once, floating in a little orb over the parking lot that first night. A night in an old roller skating rink that went horribly, crazily wrong.

And hands covered in scars. So many scars.

Everything about him screamed trouble. He might as well have come with one of those tags, the kind manufacturers put on hair dryers and flat irons. "Warning of electric shock."

You could say that again.

Red makes me think of Rykel. I never know whether to laugh or cry. But one thing's for sure.

Trouble raced through my life on a motorcycle, and I'll never be the same again.


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