Nov 26
Wildflower's picture

My do-over

    I remember the day I had said my favourite colour was her. She looked at me like there was no tomorrow and it was just us for all eternity as I told her that I loved how she was the steely clouds and the lapping ocean and the quick-sunbeam-smiles on the water and the new-bud-beginning of an angelic spring. Of course, I had waxed lyrical on more than that, so much more and so much less because the haven that is my words suddenly felt like they had a home and they all wanted to rush into her chest while some wanted the lingering goodbyes that rested in my hummingbird-heart. 

    That was the same day, the same flash of twenty-four-hour rotations in a sea of silver pricked black, that my Mother took me to heaven and never gave me the chance to come back. Of course, her light at the end of nothing was far different than mine. 

    It was my birthday, or almost so, and my happy-go-lucky pulse had dipped and risen and wobbled to oblivion, sheltered by the arms of my best friend. The summer sun rode high in the sky and heat fizzled off the porch steps. The wood scalded us, but the fact that we could touch, that we could be side by side in a land of love… it was more than enough. 

    Naturally, angels have to fly home as to not wither in the pain and the dark of the earth, so she left. 

    Later, my mother, my meant to be supporter, took me out to buy a cake. She didn’t have the time to bring out our chipped, purple mixer and grease the baking pans with her sorrow and her would-be-pride. We just bundled into the car and went to her favourite shop and stared at the desserts that I know neither of us would be allowed to eat when we got home.

    I wanted lemon. 

    She wanted chocolate hazelnut. 

    We left with empty stomachs and bubbling, acidic irritation that festered in our abdomens. 

    The clouds were happily bobbing alongside our silver-bullet of a car, a stark contrast to the shadows clawing at the hurt-sealed windows. 

    When we pulled up to the house, the shutters winking with faux-cheer, the engine sputtered to a stop, its cry a feeble protest.

    “Anjali,” came my mother’s voice. 

    “Yeah, thanks for driving, Mami,” I smiled at her as I tried the door. It wouldn’t open, it stayed sticky shut, the locks holding fast. 

    “Anjali,” she began again. “What is your relationship with Ilea? You two seem awfully… cuddly.”

    The air is sucked out of the car, rising with the heat to join the patronizing sun. 

How on earth did she know? I— I just told Ilea two days ago… two days ago when my heart filled with butterflies at her smile. 

“Anjali. You aren’t leaving until you answer me. Truthfully.” She sounded like knives. 

The words stuck in my throat. I didn’t know what to say, I just wanted to go, to leave this death trap of a vehicle where everything I say causes pain and judgment. 

“Well…” I said, still lost in floundering phrases. “Well… I think—I know—that I like girls… and boys.” It felt like there were weights on my chest. “And… I like Ilea. A lot. I told her so, um... Yeah.” Everything seemed wrong. I wanted to bolt, but I was trapped. 

Mami’s eyes darkened. The look she had… it scared me.

“Right. I told her and Ilea… said she liked me too… so I guess we’re a thing now… yeah…” done! Let me go now, please. Let me escape the brambles that snarled their way out of the cracks in our bonds of family.

Mami didn’t let me leave. She told me that it was wrong. That I was wrong. Her voice soured and sickened like a sweet left on an iron table at noon as she said that it was a phase, that I was unnatural, that I had to rethink my choices.

When we were done, I fled. I fled when the locks clicked and I didn’t look back. 

In the blanket of stars, I asked myself if I would do it over, have this day again… I wouldn’t. I couldn’t. Yes, I could still see my best friend, have sleepovers, and feel her arms around me, but I would forget her smile, I would forget the joy. I would forget that pain exists and that I still rise like fire in my hurt. I would forget the little pieces of her, of Ilea. 

At the end, my life is my life, and I could not bear it if one memory of the girl I love was swept away because I am hers and she is mine. My humming-bird heart is in her hands, and the symphony that strums in between us is beautiful, magical, ours. It started that day and I would be a fool to end it on its creation because the second is never better than the first.