Here is a life, laid out in front of me like toy blocks.
Wooden blocks, wooden letters, jumbled together into disarray. Though I see their shapes, their edges, and their lines, I cannot make them out or what they mean.
I know that there is a girl, but what else? What is she to me? Her hair pressed into the face of the wood, little creases, little lives. I intend to know her, but I don’t, what if I cannot? I see her figure there, lounging between the cuts in the wood, little jabs. You can see her ambitions when you turn the blocks over, allowing them to collect into chaos. Her ambitions started as any other dangerous thought, by flitting through her head. They became solid and smooth, and she wrote them like secrets on her sleeve. She is not some wild feminist thing yet, she just is. She is just another girl, daring to be.
But like with every other pretty little thing, she makes mistakes, she is pushed down, she is diminished to nothing—to a crevice. But with time, the blocks splinter, and she is stricken with redemption. She is the girl who bleeds in and out of the memories, the one laughing, the one dancing, and the one kissing her first, the first who will mold into the story that she tells every person who will listen. She is the girl that has stumbled, the girl that has given up, the girl that has dreamed even when she believed that they may never come true.
The blocks age, the bright color fades, and the girl grows. Her features press harder into the sweet palm of the wood. She is the woman who tries, she is the woman who fights, she is the woman who conquers. She is the girl all grown up. She is beautiful, she is smart, she is not restrained by her limitations. She is the woman in front of me, the one made up of childish fascinations, toy blocks. Her life, her great life with success, power, and persistence. The wheels behind her body, working like gears, move her forever forward. But to what?
The glare of the sunset sits hard against the faded letters like grief—no, something much heavier than that: the weight of chance, of growth, of a future that you can’t quite make out. The life laid out before me in blocks with ribbed letters, what is it? A life that has already lived and lived so well, I crave it. I need it. She, the ghost of a girl hiding in the cracks in the wood, who is she in flesh? She is so much more than this, so much more than now, so much more than me. She is the woman who slips behind the curtain of my conscience when I close my eyes. This is that thought that creeps into me with pretty little fingers: I want to be her. I need to be her, the woman dancing before me immortalized in the blocks of my childhood. She comes to me then, as I clutch my childhood like fruit between my fingers. She whispers this into my ear, her lips brushing my skin. The fruit bleeds, running red juice between my fingers. Her voice rings again and again in my bones like a bell:
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