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My Name is Mistake

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I say this, and I say this with pride - I am the last piece of the puzzle, the epitome of your errors. The one thing that surpasses the cigarette butts in the trash bin, the broken bottles on the fire escape.


My name is Mistake; at least, that’s what you call me. Born in the trunk of a Jeep, raised with pacifiers and handcuffs, that is my story. You used to sing to me, you know. Long, long ago, when you still had hair the color of the rising sun and your voice, oh, your voice was the pinks and the reds and the yellows of the setting sun.
Leave me on the tracks, wait till the morning train arrives: the one phrase that ingrained itself into my memory. The one phrase that seemed to bring color into my nursery, splash them against the bare concrete walls, cup my face and stroke my hair and whisper...I love you, darling.


And now... and now it isn’t a song anymore, it is a statement. I know you; as much as I would like to deny any bond between us, I know you. I know the glint in your eyes, the slight twitch of your lips, the furrow of your eyebrows. I know the creases in your hand as well as I know my own; I could discern you from a crowd by only your eyes.


I know, and that is why I tell. You are not singing anymore, Mother, you are stating. Somewhere, somehow, deep beneath that drunken haze, that flimsy layer of motherly love, that excuse of an organ you call a heart, you want my blood to stain the rails. You want to hear the bellow of the train, the screech of metal on metal as it tries to stop. Tries to save your daughter from an imminent death.

I imagine you wouldn’t do anything. Perhaps, in some nook or cranny of your heart, you would feel some urge to rush to the rails and save me but, after all, you were the one who shoved me. Besides, it would be too late. The train would be groaning and trembling and moving and no one would hear my cries, my anguished wail, the final falter in my voice as I smiled.


After all, I am named Mistake. That delirious night, eight months before my birth, that was a mistake. My birth was a mistake. The 5,475 days afterwards were definitely a mistake. Letting go would be my only accomplishment.


And that is why I know I will stand there, Mother. Not from paralysis or shock or... or even apathy, but from resignation. That is why, as you crouch in waiting and the train approaches, you will see your daughter smile. A real smile, that is. A real smile. How rare. And perhaps that smile will ignite within you that maternal instinct, but by then it will be too late. The train has passed, my cries have faded, and all that is left is a broken vessel, sprawled across the rails. And crimson. Bright, furious crimson that seeps through the snow. The only beautiful part of me.


I know everything, Mother. It plays in my mind like a scene from a horror movie, starting over and over and over again. There are slight changes. In one, you tie me to the rails. In another, you try in vain to save me. But it always ends with crimson.


I know that and that is why I cannot let that happen.


Leave me on the tracks, wait till the morning train arrives. Did you know, Mother, that that line is part of a poem? Did you know, Mother, that I spent all night reading that poem, grasping a flickering candle while you stumbled and cursed in the other room? Did you know, Mother, that the poem brought the pinks and the reds and the yellows of the setting sun, straight to me? Did you know that when I stared into the mirror, the usual feeling of disgust did not arrive? It lingered. It left. And for the first time, I saw myself smile.


I cannot, I just cannot, mother, let my life end with crimson because - and I know this will come as a shock - I deserve more. I deserve the blank sheets of paper lying, somewhere in the world, waiting for my hand, my mind, to fill them with thoughts. I deserve a life that is so much more than this; a life that is filled with hardship and suffering and lust and love. But most importantly, I deserve a life, mother, and you are ridding me of it.


I hope you understand, mother. I hope you understand why I am writing this note. I hope you understand that if I don’t, I will die.


If I don’t, I will not only die, I will lose my dignity, my dreams, my vision. And - somewhere, somehow - empty pages will lie, forgotten, untouched by the hand of a dreamer. If I watch this train leave, mother, I am watching everything I own and love disappear beyond a horizon of broken dreams.


And so I am leaping aboard this train with no hesitation, and I am riding it to the dawn of redemption.






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