The glint in her youthful eyes reminded me of a past forgotten. A conscience buried with betrayal and desire. I never knew what it would’ve been like to live a normal life: go to a high school prom, apply for a college, drink a beer in the middle of a field somewhere. No. I was stuck in a realm on repeat, one where none of this mattered. A glance down to chipped nail polish sent me back to the hands of my mother. A haphazard attempt to make things seem normal, like we could afford to participate in such frivolous behaviors. In all reality, that nail polish came from a partially cracked bottle in the parking lot of the Dollar Tree. Her porcelain skin yet to be marked by the dark circles of teenage years: the stress, the anxiety, the agony. The first time mine appeared: I had pulled an all nighter watching my father in a hospital bed – him begging for forgiveness. He should’ve asked for that before he spent our money on tiny pills in even smaller bottles. My past life only surfaces on rare occasions such as these, when I see those seemingly untouched by life’s ruthless fist and a spirit unbroken and free such as a bird on a pristine spring day. And as I recline on this park bench in the middle of October, I think about what could’ve been if only. If only. A figure enters my peripheral and scoops up the child and perches her on strong shoulders, I am tempted to say something – anything, but instead I resign to give the pair a sideways smile and watch them disappear into the concrete jungle.
My immediate instinct is to run. Sweat runs down my face as stone cold eyes stare into mine. Eyes of darkness? Most certainly. Fear Factor? Calculated. Time to get away? Estimated. He was only a couple inches taller than me, that boy I used to know. I left for my own sake, my own benefit, my own safety; he was insane. We went to the same high school three years prior and had a relationship for a while. Was it smart? Well no, but at the time I thought he was a miracle in the form of a man, straight from heaven as some might say. He was perfect and encapsulated everything I had ever dreamed of in a boyfriend: tall but not too tall, strong hands, perfect smile, athletic and passionate, but inside, oh inside, his soul was darker than I took my coffee. His soul was rotted and crumbling apart but hidden inside so no one could see the leftover ashes. That innocent figure drew me in like a beacon in a storm and I went for it wholeheartedly and without regret until it was too late. He took what was left of me and buried it in the ashes of his soul until I dissolved into nothing. I was nothing but a void in society. As he stood before me now, as empty as before, I stared into those stone cold eyes as if they held answers to why he took me. Why me. I had a future, well I wanted a future. He spoke words to me and they wrapped me deep within him, as if he controlled my every move. I was a puppet to his motives. I was at mercy to his intentions. For the first time in three years I felt him grab me and yank me away. Taking me captive to drain my soul once again.
A heartbeat happens every single second. The sound of life. A clarity resounding through a body giving a constant reminder that this being is living, breathing, evolving. A life that possesses different realities and a different version of life unknown to many others. The ultimatum of vitality in a constant force.
If we think about it, our whole life depends on that simple beat. Whether we get to go to sleep tonight, wake up the next morning, or go on to the next year. It decides whether or not we get to do the events we love. And shows us our deepest emotions. Love. Fear. Excitement.
Our lives start and end with one, from Conception to Death, from First Breath to Last. No one knows how many they’ll get. So what are you doing with the ones you have now?
Life is a series of patterns. Addresses. Phone Numbers. Social Security numbers. These things make up the physical part of us as a person, but they have a rhyme and a reason. My pattern has neither a rhyme or reason, nor explanation. It has been a part of me since birth. This is me. I am 42MX34-5A.
My life is completely formed of the series of numbers and letters 42MX34-5A. If you count the dash, there are nine characters that form a timeline between birth and now. Starting with the number 4.
It started with a four letter name. My name Lily. A name that means innocence and picked with reason and meant as a symbol to others. A baby that would be raised right and hold a normal life without hardships. As my mom held me she didn’t realize what the future would hold for me. I don’t blame her for jinxing my innocence before my life even started, She didn’t know.
I was two years old when they found it. My blood cells didn’t look right, with the numbers off between the red cells and white. This was the beginning, the file, the needles, and the “We’ll take care of you.” As I watched my superhero mom break down and clutch me to her chest in fear, my so called innocence was tainted by an ungodly disease. Leukemia.
Maybe. My life from two years on became a series of maybes. Will she hurt? Maybe. Will she lose her hair? Maybe. Can we beat it? Maybe. My mom always being the practical one- never gave me any erroneous hope. Which forever changed me by engrafting it onto my weak heart. I became comfortable with maybes pre designing my childhood. I was made with maybes.
An X alludes to the unknown. After a while in remission, 13 year old me return to the doctor with a golf ball sized bruise on my side. Hands covering my tear stained face and red burning eyes to hide reality. Would I ever become a dancer? Would I ever play in Carnegie Hall? Would my art ever be featured in a gallery? The unknown will turn out to be my worst fear.
Three years and a full head of hair later, I am re-diagnosed. My doctors say it’s back and stronger. Treatment can help but there is no guarantee. My cards have been dealt and my options lay in front of me like an open book. An open book of less than a page.
Four weeks later and several intense treatments later; my head is just skin. Who could love someone like me. I dreamed of a future that I could play my instruments and paint like those with no cares. As I lay in the clinic receiving the treatment that I felt was leading to my ultimate demise. My eyes fluttered close.
I’m flying. The wind is blowing through my long flowing hair. I am dancing in the clouds, immune to the worries of the world that were scattered below my feet. My cancer is gone and I am trouble free with the world at my mercy.
Five people were there when they pulled the cord connecting me from the spiritual world to the physical world. I watched from a distance as my mom dropped to the ground and I moved to put my invisible arms around her. The picture in front of me began to crumble as I left the room of the now lifeless girl. I close my eyes and go dancing.
“A girl forever in our hearts”, reads a tombstone under a willow tree with fresh lillies on the surface. A body, cancer riddled, lies six feet below with a soul forever free and for the last time: I go dancing.
Dedicated to my beautiful angel friend Darby xx love you lots