(Do sit this one out.)
“Red Hair” was the story everything hinged on. They could bury you with that story, you wouldn’t have minded. It was the story (not the plot but rather its existence) that made you realise death was not the end. It didn’t say one word about afterlife, but at the very least it hinted at some nebulous possibilities.
It was offensively obvious: a young man living along in a grand old house away from the city. In the forest, by the river. And each night there was a girl with red hair, stooped over the river, ready to jump. The man saw her through the window. Desperate to save her, he ran outside towards her only to see her jump into the river and drown. Time after time after time after time. But then of course: one night it had to be different.
This was the holy cow. For years I had been treating it as something sacred that could only be written once. Until one day I saw a picture for a video clip:
The image was astonishing in that the girl looked exactly the way I had described her. The dress and the hair and even the outlines of her body. And then I suddenly realised that there was nothing special about that story. The mystery might have still been there, but then it was just a story. One of many. One of a billion. And Christ it felt good.