By Bea Hawkins
I came to you small and innocent. Porcelain and plump, pickled in peculiarity.
You came to me a lost girl, never fully grasping the deal we struck lifetimes ago when we floated among the explosions of stars. Uncontrollably hurling toward you, the black night against white light baffled and blinded me through oblivion.
You were the first creature I studied. I watched you in the moments you thought no one was looking. My curious eyes burned. My bitten tongue stung. My heart and brain teetering between imitation and authenticity. I would look for answers in your body language and vacant eyes. I would try to hear you in the simmering silence, longing for the sound of a turned key. My heart’s cries and longing only echoed by sirens on city streets.
I would try to see you in the darkest of rooms. I would sneak up to smell your hair, willing the scent to be scorched across my brain and wondering if it would be the last time I would inhale you. I would beg to be with you. To comb your hair. To feel your skin not flinch when I reached for you. To be hugged tightly and not let go.
My own senses betrayed me over and over.
I had left the endlessness of time behind me, only to crash into your warm, dark waters. Waters that would torture me into detachment, then curl its waves like a motioning finger, tempting me to return. Betrayal was silenced and allowed the distant memories of your heartbeat, to intuitively soften mine. Every mammalian instinct beat its drum against my thick skull and heart turned cold – pleading for them to remember when I had found unexplained warmth and comfort there, beside you.
I would reach for your hands and beg to place my lonely heart in your palm. So that you could recognize for once that it was still beating. I would wait for your animalistic instincts to jolt. To remember that there was still life inside of me. There was still time. You would remember that it was the gift you gave to me. The gift I didn’t ask for. The gift I never figured out how to make useful. The gift that required a lesson, some explanation, some instruction – and I felt left instead with parts I had to construct alone. My empty box of broken parts. Safety tests done by experiment and personal trial and error. Pieces I would put together on my own.
I’d look to you to see if it resembled anything human.
But, you couldn’t answer. You never had instructions either, did you?
It was too much work to put a little girl together in the right order, broken parts aplenty.
After all, Mom…
You were still in pieces.
Bea Hawkins is a married mama, legal assistant, and writer who has lived all over St. Louis, Missouri. She has been recently published for the first time with WOW! and won 2nd place in their Q3 2019 Creative Nonfiction Contest.