I don’t want to just rush into my first meeting with Curious; I feel it’d give the wrong impression. It took me a long time to understand why she behaved the way she did- and there was no great secret about it. She acted that way because she wanted to. But back then I had a habit of taking things personally; for the sake of my friend, therefore, allow me to describe her.
Maybe if she’d had a different kind of mind, she would have been pretty. As it was, her hair was a halo of short, boyish brown curls; her skin was sallow, and she always seemed to have a single pimple on her face. I know it can’t have been the same pimple, because it would occasionally move around- she’d go to sleep with it on her chin and wake up with it on her nose- but it was the subject of much internal debate for me. I was no fussy dresser, but Curious was shabby to the point of flamboyance, always bundled up in several old and ugly jumpers, with jeans that weren’t fashionably tattered so much as gnawed-looking, as if she’d been chewing on her own knees; yet her hands were long and pale as snow-spiders, forever scuttling over piano keys, winding into her hair, leafing through pages.
And on first sight, of course I took no notice of her eyes- I was honestly more preoccupied with trying to read the label on her ice-cream tub from across the room. But many years later, the thought flashed into my head that Curious had the eyes of a child who’d seen something awful, and had never been able to forget it.
She was the kind of person who wrote in pencil over every book she read. Her handwriting was large, childish. She used strawberry-flavoured toothpaste. Her shampoo- it smelled of apples.
I’ve probably said too much. Let me get back to the story.