Her Wings

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I realized something was wrong when I stopped caring about the critters crawling underneath my bed, and started worrying too much about the ones inside my head. You can't sit here and tell me there's not a bat wing stuck in my throat, that I'm not suffocating. I have to take deep breaths, slow pace.  If I don't breathe to the tempo of an ill person's heart rate, my lungs will race. The sharp white noise of everyday life terrifies me because if my days are destined to be repetitive, then what am I destined to be? Hours speed up to minutes when everyone else thinks that time is starting to slow down. I pry at brick walls, making my fingers bleed. Some would have common sense to peek around the corner and walk by, or maybe turn to get a pickaxe and start breaking barriers, but I keep clawing with my tiny, gentle fingers. My tiny, gentle fingers unlock new scrambled and unfinished puzzles every waking hour, but I haven’t even sorted out the first tricky one. Wait, what? Stress relief? Oh, you mean like getting high on artificial happiness that goes in like ecstasy and comes out smoke. I'd say everything artificial never lasts, but I still see fake tulips stand up straight on my nightstand even after a year or so. Artificial happiness, though, is another conversation. The happiness was never there in the first place, so what does that mean? I'm just covering my real feelings with a see through sheet? Makes sense because at night, I cover my head with my comforter in hopes the demons in the dark fade into the night. I never figure out if my tactic works because when I raise my head, it's already dawn. I miss it - the sudden feeling of relief I had because I knew she was there. When my tears would overflow the bathtub, she’d pull out the plug. When I was younger, this kid stole my scooter. I went to tell her, and she looked me dead in the face and told me to toughen up. She said, “I want you to go outside and get your scooter back,” and at the time I thought she was crazy - that was until I came home, the scooter gripped in my hands. I remember her looking at me and saying, “See, wasn’t that hard, wasn’t?”

Now, mom, though, it is hard. It is bad and it’s not okay. I’ve eaten little cakes that read “eat me” even though I know you would’ve smacked them out of my hands. I’ve sipped on drinks that strangers give me because “hey, why not?” I've taken steps in the wrong direction and I'm twisting my feet backwards so I can go the way you've always wanted me to go, but my ankles are breaking. I'm sweating, swearing, and shaking. I’ve been clawing at invisible walls that surround me. I can't break free. There’s things I haven't told you yet - things I'll never get the chance to say. Words that crawl out of my mouth with so much ease in front of anyone, except you. It wasn't because I didn't trust you, it's because you were the only one who had an opinion about me that I actually cared about. Maybe if you were here, my life would be so much easier because you would take care of everything that's put on me right now. I never understood why you had so much doubt in a lovely life until everything fell onto me. I see why you fought to rest your beliefs on red birds being angels and pennies with coincidental dates being your late mother - if you believed and had any faith, you'd have ended your life before God had a say. I completely see through the glass house you created, thinking it had such thick, unbreakable walls when really you had the corners of every room duct taped so loosely. I never folded up a flap of tape to try and see the real you. Sometimes you'd accidentally drop your glass house and every little shard was like a puzzle piece and to this day, I'm still missing pieces. Why you did one thing and didn't do another, why you felt one way but acted another. Maybe that's how adults are, and that's just something that I didn't understand. But now, with you gone, I feel like I have a whole set of responsibilities weighing on my shoulders and chest. I feel like I lost my whole childhood. I have people around me that want to help me out, but none of them know how I feel. None of them know how to help me in this cruel world like you did. Sure, they'll teach me how to be financial, how taxes work and whether or not I should set up a credit card account, but none of them will tell me what party I should go to, whose hand I should hold for marriage, which apartment or house should I buy or rent. No one will love me like you did, and no one will look me dead in the eyes and say, “Hey, don't ever do the things that I did when I was your age.”






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