Friends are important. They may be the only reason why I’m still here today; they've brought meaning back into life. We could talk and laugh about the waybacks and the flash-forwards all day, but it won’t be long before I resent their understanding.
I think in that way I got someone else’s head. Where perspective is no longer collective but a one-sided sheet of glass. My friends started crying about that more than once. I listen and soothe like a mother would be doing. I’m only a kid still, or did you forget? Kids are a sponge is what they say, you know. I’ll absorb your mess and hold onto it for a while. Maybe forever if you scrub hard enough.
Don’t worry if you’ve tarnished me, I always find a way for myself. I pour out my soul, like some English breakfast tea, with the help of my tickled pink fingers and curious glass eyes. They prod and poke at a sheet of music or blank paper. They lingered for a while on a particularly happy day among the many others. Concert day, we’d ridden on a bus to get there. Surrounded by the people I’d considered family. The first medal I’d actually felt something about. Days like that help a lot, even my calloused fingers agree.
Smiling faces, sonorous sounds, and cliché jokes bring joy to little golden-haired me
The bubbling brook behind my eyes (unleashed by the middle school beasts) slowed for a while after I learned piano keys are better therapists than dogs.
Even though I wasn’t any good at that kind of self-help, my mother made it better with her compliments. She’d say, You’re a smart girl with kind eyes. I smiled often back then too.
The beasts in the locker room held masks of flowers over their ghastly faces.They called me dirt and yanked on my delicate petals. A few fell off, I’ll admit. But I always find a new place to plant my seeds. I’d tell myself that it didn’t matter that I hadn’t bloomed yet.
I’d have my time. One day I’d be just as beautiful, minus the thorns around my neck.
It was around those days that I’d realized the big creator had it right. The golden rule is truly gold and beauty is fleeting. But a gentle, open heart is forever alive and has the most meaning.
Fifth grade was the year of impatient snaps in my face; it took me a long time to get my head off my desk so that I could see the road I was headed down.
Lucky for me, my teacher stuck my feet on the ground. She pointed down the path that I was avoiding and said start walking. I got really good at pulling my boots on, faster than most could put on their big girl pants. A change in scenery came before my changed heart.
I was an introvert avoiding any possible miscommunication.
The blame could be put on my love for eating and the others obsession with themselves.
The road to home seemed never-ending on that wretched bus
I want to go home started to taste funny in my mouth
The great migration in the blue minivan didn’t help
I hated the new sweltering heat and strangers.
My parents didn’t mind them much though, so I acted like I didn’t either.
My memory felt more real than my sense of sight.
Boardwalks, the big city, people I recognized and forever missed.
Even that funhouse by the beach (that wasn’t so much fun to me).
It reminded me too much of the sad tree in my backyard.
It sat dead even as I swung around it on my tire swing.
Even as we grew our sunflowers by it
Even as I watched it through the window by the kitchen sink in the morning
Even when daddy said, The pancakes are ready, Cams.
Even before the 15th of July, 2001.