On this Day

On this Day
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Hannah, we care about you and the memories you share here. We thought you’d like to look back on this photo of you from exactly five years ago today.

Do you remember that day, Hannah? “Meet us in the park,” your friends said, “we’re down by the river,” and so you (pictured, left) went, and you all sat in the shade because Ellie (pictured, right), one of your oldest friends, sunburnt so easily. Mark (not pictured) bought everyone ice creams and you lay around on the daisy-jeweled riverbank, the air fragrant with barbeque and coconut sun cream and freshly cut grass, and you chatted and laughed and had a good time. You don’t remember what you talked about though, do you, Hannah, because why would you – you thought you’d have hundreds more of these lazy afternoons, no need to commit every conversation to memory, no need to do anything but feel life wash over you, bask in its pulsing rays.

Look how happy you are, Hannah. You’re positively glowing. Look how young you are. Life hasn’t done its damage yet, hasn’t wrinkled that youthful face, shadowed those shining eyes. This was before The Year Everyone Died, wasn’t it, Hannah? Before Mark (who took this photo, captioned it “Summer of Love,” and uploaded it to Facebook for you to enjoy this special memory) was found dead in his flat, alone, his cat curled on his lap. Before Ellie was found dead, alone, on the night of Dan’s funeral – Dan (not pictured) who overdosed, alone, “accidentally” they said but who knows, I mean they said Ellie died of “natural causes” but what’s fucking natural about dying at the age of 34? This was before Carl (not pictured) died, alone, jaundiced and bloated and surrounded by empty whiskey bottles in a hotel room in Beirut. Before your Nan (not pictured) died, surrounded by family in hospital, a couple of days before Christmas. Do you remember what your Nan said, Hannah, when you told her you loved her?

“If I could bottle up all that love, I could go on forever.”

But nobody goes on forever, do they, Hannah? We just thought we’d remind you of that today, five years since this photo was taken, and what have you even done with your life in those five years, Hannah, are you making the most of every moment, are you doing your dead proud? Because you survived, Hannah, and they didn’t, and your incessant googling of “survivors’ guilt” won’t slacken its noose.

We’re only reminding you of all this because we’re such good friends, Hannah, which is why we’re on a first-name basis. We care so much about you and your memories, and by care we might mean own, but you don’t need to read the small print, Hannah – just trust in our relentless algorithms.

Hannah Austin

About Hannah Austin

Hannah Austin is a queer Welsh writer and editor based in Somerset. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Guardian, Mslexia, The Moth, New Welsh Review, Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, The Real Story, The Mechanics Institute Review and others. She has been a finalist in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award (2018), the Fish Short Memoir Prize (2019) and the Center for Women Writers’ International Literary Awards (2019). She was recently awarded an Arts Council grant to start writing her first book.

Hannah Austin is a queer Welsh writer and editor based in Somerset. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Guardian, Mslexia, The Moth, New Welsh Review, Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, The Real Story, The Mechanics Institute Review and others. She has been a finalist in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award (2018), the Fish Short Memoir Prize (2019) and the Center for Women Writers’ International Literary Awards (2019). She was recently awarded an Arts Council grant to start writing her first book.

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