In those moments she was infinite. The height never scared her. Climbing up there was her routine—once a week, just as the sun was setting. Her hands and feet efficiently grasping the metal bars one after another, she would admire the beauty of each bar that was weathered a rusty orange-red. This place was her definition of natural beauty—untouched, pure. The color of corrosion and the geometric shapes that together formed the supporting sides, the reflected sunset in the motionless lake below, the leaves of distant deciduous trees deepening into rich reds and oranges: it was all breathtaking. And most magnificent of all was the view from the top, the sky rouged like her cheeks must have been from the crisp fall breeze. She painted this sky onto canvas many times, proudly showing me each of these creations. After my praise, she’d whisper under her breath that it was her “favorite mix of perfection and angst,” the colors and scene accurately depicting her own personality.
Katie’s note, neatly folded atop an oil painting of her crimson refuge, explained this all. She wrote of her love for the aesthetically flawed bridge and its accompanying lovely sunsets. The letter said the same typical shit: “don’t blame yourself,” “you did nothing wrong,” “I love you,” etc. It shocked everyone when she was found lifelessly floating in that lake. She was perfect in everyone’s eyes—an aspiring artist, who just got accepted to Pratt Institute School of Art—but I knew she had a dark core. I always knew she had bottled up tormented secrets and thoughts, ones that she struggled to express even with a paintbrush. After all, Katie was my best friend; she was my favorite mix of perfection and angst.