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Image by Max Titov
The Imposter
The story follows a girl who is struggling with grief and disassociation.

I tried going out last night.


Jordan met me outside on W Cedar St and offered me some swigs of Gin from a Smartwater bottle. I shrugged, the night sky wide above me and obliged. Looking up at the stars with the plastic bottom up. We only walk three minutes before a cute queer kid greets us and brings us up three floors to an open door. The apartment is big and colorful lights fill the space. There’s space though. Groups of 3-5 people huddled and separated. Imposters impostering. They look like trash collected on riverbanks. Jordan peels away from me


Hey Sugar! He yells

Baby!! It's been so long!

A girl strides up and replies. Her dark brown hair sticks to her shoulders.


I watch them embrace and suddenly feel very aware of my empty hands. My toes meet together. They touch and I smile; I begin shuffling around the space, looking at the corners. I see a black girl in a striped shirt sitting alone at the pong table. I am her but I’m not. She opens Discord and scrolls, resting her chin on her hand. I want to talk to her but then what?


Hello, how are you? What's your name? I might say

I’m Anna, I go to Berklee and I'm good, but bored maybe, how are you? She may reply. 

We could share words for a little before saying Soo.. and looking everywhere but at each other. So, I avoid her. I don't look at her or go near her; fearing people might group us together as the loners and imposters and I’d rather just judge myself.


I slide my phone out of my pocket and check WhatsApp. Still nothing from Nirvaan, though I don't suspect he will try to contact me tonight. When I broke up with him, he promised he’d try to find other ways to talk to me even if I blocked him. Of course, I blocked him on WhatsApp and Messages, but he still has access to the six other virtual pathways to me. Email, Gmail, Facebook, Discord, Snapchat… fucking Venmo for God- sakes.


This is obviously one of the main reasons I broke up with him- his inability to put effort into me. He’d probably read that and get angry- citing times he in fact did love me right. I haven't seen him since I flew across the world to get some physical comfort. I even told him to bring me flowers to the airport. Yep, you guessed it- he showed up empty handed. I’d had never expected him to be an imposter, but when we got back to his apartment, the garden was full of flowers- waiting to be picked. I know, a lot of girls- or people- don't need flowers; but I do, they're so silly but signify effort and love. So yeah, I flew across the world to see him, and he just showed up. 


I came home from my trip early to watch my brother Q die. For five days he was actively dying. His breaths labored and raspy. I watched his chest rise and fall and never rise again. Ever. I watched as people came into our house and took his dead body out. A week later I held him in a wooden box, feeling the unequal distribution of weight our ashes amount to. Flowers filled my family home- lilies, roses and carnations. My friend from D.C. who I hadn't spoken to in a year sent me a bouquet. Nothing from Nirvaan. I mean two fucking years we’d been together, and he hadn’t sent me anything.


I remember how alone I felt those days; isolated from my past and supposed present. Listen, I know Nirvaan isn't made of money, but his famous cousin is and it would have just cost him some pride.


My teeth involuntarily grind and I'm back, stuck watching myself from above. I move to the left side of the room, eyes scanning, pretending to look for somebody. I watch myself side-step people, avoiding the sweat, I awkwardly mouth-



I return to my body and look at the door longingly. I imagine myself screaming -

FUCK ALL OF YOU!! Laughing and smiling YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW.


Maybe I’d then be known as crazy rather than just hot. I can see it in men's wide eyes. They see me as the blond-haired, blue-eyed girl. I see myself as that and I’m sick. I watch their eyes objectify me and calculate the possibility of me saying yes. I glare at them and snarl, so they know there's no chance.


The blond-haired boy stands confidently, talking to another blond girl. He looks up at me. Then down. Up again. He drinks me in, slowly, painfully. My snarl, revived.  Jordan’s chain belt clinks as he comes up to me-


So pretty lame, huh? But that guy over there is so cute right?

Jordan says, wiggling his eyebrows and nodding to the couple over his cup. I turn to face him and scoff-

I mean not really, plus he's with a girl and has been checking me out, so yucky…I sigh and shift my weight.


I hate straight men, they’re fucking imposters., I say to him, watching the blond girl spin and her teal dress fly up.

I think of Q’s labored breathing and how his eyes would look up at nothing on that last day.

Well, I think he's hot and I’m going to flirt with him before we leave, Jordan tells me, beginning to swing to the beat.


Yeah. When are we leaving? I ask him, nodding my head pretending to know the song.

I dunno. Soon.

Jordan replies, flashing me with a grin and holding his hand out-

Be right back baby!!

He tells me, his eyes glinting.


I smile at him and nod my head to the left. Q didn't go to many parties when he was alive. I study the wooden door again. Hungrily memorizing the golden bulb. The escape. Q didn't get to escape much. He got dealt the shittiest cards and never once complained. Unlike these fucks here who cry when somebody says the wrong words.

Though, trauma is relative.

Fuck. I have to get out of here.


Beads of sweat swallow my forehead and each breath feels like a pound. I lift my chest up.

His will never rise again.


I grab my long black puffer from the blond girl’s room and make a beeline. I know Jordan is watching and I’m giving up making friends at this new school. Fuck this. Fuck them. They didn't even do anything; I don't know why I hate them too.  I'm turning into an Imposter.


So yeah, I try going out, but I think there's something wrong with me.

Image by Glenn Carstens-Peters

Virginia Clarke is a student, writer, poet and cook. She loves to write in her spare time.

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