They look at the pocketknife every morning. Run their fingers over the handle, tracing the letters of the engraved name. Flip it open and gaze into the mirrored blade, wishing they could see through it to find their love on the other side – but all that looks back from the polished steel is their own haunted stare.
Vivian gave them the knife before she left. It’s all they have left of her: they can’t write or call her, can’t even follow her on tumblr. Viv’s parents know all the passwords, and they’re not the sort to let even a hello go unquestioned.
They had to meet her in secret, before she moved away. She didn’t even dare to tell her parents her new name, or that she had one, or that she needed one.
It’s only for eighteen months. Seventeen. Sixteen. Eight. Five. They count down the days to Vivian’s eighteenth birthday, waiting for her freedom, helpless to help her.
Eighty-seven days before the end, the blade of the pocketknife comes out tarnished.
They can’t bring themself to flip it closed again. It lies beside their keyboard, half-folded into a careless L-shape, as they google Vivian’s deadname and feel eighty-seven days melt into an eternity.
Six months of tears can’t wash the blade clean.