Dangles between my mom’s weathered fingers, pages unclaimed. Ticonderoga in hand Pencil to paper. I am ready, have been ready for six years. but my mind draws a blank. Learning to write is like learning To think, to entertain, to surrender— And so at eight years old, in the darkness of my bed, I lean over the untouched notebook, letting my pencil tiptoe across the blank page. The tiptoe slips into a trot, twirls into a dance; before I know it, the chains unwind, and my mind expands, explores, tumbles. My mind quietly yearns to span the page; a gust of identity wriggles free. Each page becomes past memory, a quest for the present, a journey accompanied By self. My companion is a force. I plunge into the page; the blinds pinch moonlight that slants across my words. Between the lines of light and writing I imbue blanks with meaning, empty pages with love and hope, a wooden artifact of purpose. The words come endlessly, tearing my hunched body from my bed, toss me from past to memory, heart ripped into a thousand pieces and taped together again until I’m dropped into a hospital bed. Wires clinging to my wrists, blinds drawn shut. Words sing to me, disappear from my pages of spilt ink. I fight, mind reaching forward; Anesthesia takes over. Doctor tells me to think about a balloon, drifting away. Count to 15. I’ve only lived to ten, but eyes flutter shut, mouth refuses to open. Once again, I’m shrouded in darkness. I forget the warmth. Scattered sunrise beams frame my hunched body digging through bottom drawer dust, searching for a rogue glue stick, my fingers sweep the pink notebook cover, unearthing a gloss glittering dangerously. Flipping through the pages, the memories, feelings, love embedded in the babygirl letters. This Belongs to: Me This Belongs to: Me This Belongs to: Me This Belongs to: Me This Belongs to: Me This Belongs to: Me The words call out. I forgive. I remember. On the next empty page, I set my pencil down; I’m ready to rediscover myself and so I begin—
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