She set apart the piles of miscellaneous pictures scattered all across the crimson hearthrug on her bedroom floor. It was somehow painful to see each memory frozen over a piece of glossy paper, as if it had been drawn out from the deepest of her mind and placed before her.
Regina tossed away the mops of blazing red curls raining down her forehead and tried to smile as a myriad of images cut out from the past skipped like a broken record on her head.
She did not remember that picture; she strained her eyes and glared closely, the square impression barely a few inches from her nose.
Nicole’s sparkling eyes stared back. A half-drawn smile struck her dark complexion, her hair falling down her shoulders and over her cheerful expression. And beside her, Regina pulled up faces, puckering out her pout, crossed-eyed.
That had been, she thought, a wonderful day once upon a happier time. That was them, and it was perfect. She swapped the picture around; a few words scribbled down in Nicole’s uneven handwriting read the legend “Best Friends Forever”.
But unfortunately, Regina thought with stern opprobium, eternity was a myth. Hopeful, and full of wonder and promises, but a myth yet.
In a few moments, the depiction of those memories or, at least, their remnants, were drowned by a flooding sensation of frustration, anger, and resignation.
Regina glanced again at the picture with sullen eyes, stranded, abandoned, forlorn. She was marooned in the middle of her barren life, of her solitude.
Why? She had always been there fore Nicole; she had been beside her when she cried, when she was alone, scared of the vast, hostile world around her. But now she had camouflaged mimetically in the world like a chameleon, and Regina was forgotten. No longer the greatest, no longer the best. Just another face in the crowd.
She grabbed the heap of pictures with trembling hands. Though pain ached deep inside, not a single tear would roll down her cheeks. She was despondent, yet unusually strong, and adamant.
With one hasty movement, she tore apart the images on the paper, and the images in her mind.
Slightly refractory, she stood up: her dishevelled hair did not embellish her, but her expression was sheer, no flaws in it.
In a fraction of second, she thrusted the photographs into the fire, and as the flames licked the curling edges, both picture and broken friendship were consumed into ashes.