From My Mouth to God’s Ears
Louisa leaves the house on a morning that is cold and hard like a glass bottle left outside over night. Her parting words ring against the air for days and weeks, that cast iron declaration, shaking in her girl’s voice, but determined. I’m already gone. No one could really believe it was true. We shivered anyway, quaking in our jeans, hands jammed in our pockets, heads tossed back as if we didn’t care.
The bleach we each so lovingly applied to our hair eats away at our heads like a disease. We wonder, how many diseases are self-inflicted? Many, most? Perhaps even all?
Our collective dreams grow darker at this time of year. They become littered with those old fears, old fairytale symbols. In the mornings we drink our coffee without discussing witches or maidens, knights or demons, though each of us secretly sees these figures inside every shadow, around every corner. Not one of us is willing to admit a fear of ghosts, nor a fear of death, nor any mortal fear other than the one we all believe we need to feel: a fear of the self, of one’s own body.
In the evening we cover our skin with the thickest fabrics we can find to hide the shame of our respective physicalities, that heaviest of burdens: blue veins, fingernails, beating hearts.
For weeks we hear her voice cracking against the empty space between our bodies. For weeks she seems to hover over every bed, perch on every shelf. We are terrified.
It is when we have finally stopped believing she will come back to us that she does. She returns like the sun sinking below the horizon, going back to God.
When she walks in that door, it is not without scars.
Her pants are chopped short and she marches in almost proudly, long legs bare and sunburned.
She says, “I wonder, did you even miss me?