the vanishing girl

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It was the year of love and the year of fear and I woke up to a thunderstorm.


His voice thunder, the lighting our hands (still intertwined) and the rain my heartbeat. He rolls over, eyes the color of the ocean. I have this theory that his eyes are so blue because there is so much water in his personality that it somehow found its way into his appearance. And there’s this look in his eyes and and I know that look. It is one of longing and softness and please don’t say it. Don’t say it, don’t say it, don’t –


“I love you.”


No. No, this is not the way this was supposed to go. See, Water came after Fire. It is so dangerous to have Fire for one’s first love because it will destroy you. It will burn you inside out, flames licking every inch of your body now covered in ash. My fingertips are still singed and so are my heartstrings. But that’s the thing about Fire – some part of you still aches for the burning because it felt so good, and all you could focus on were the beautiful shades of gold mixed into the crimson and orange. I didn’t even notice the scars until after he left.


Water is silent and I’ve been quiet for too long. I need to do something – distract him. A kiss, my hand through his hair. This always works. He stops me. He caresses, traces, touches ever so softly, what is he doing? Is this what making love feels like? Whatever it is, I do not want it. I can give you my body but do not ask for my heart, it is not mine to give anymore. His blue veins are poetry but the words are not meant for me.


I do not have an unconditional amount of love to give out. I only had a handful of flower petals and dandelions and shooting stars. I had a handful of love and I gave it all away before I could understand what it was. I have nothing left to give. He stops.


“Are you alright, darling?” he asks. I am hollow. Heartbreak is a debt that can only be paid with time and I’m afraid my clock has only just started. I try and think of an explanation but no words come out. “Let me draw you a bath, it’ll make you feel better,” he coaxes. I sit still on the bed and listen to the sound of the water running. I feel sick. I know I won’t be able to wash away the embers or the ruin. Run. My body says run. And my body always seems to know things before my mind does so I get up and start packing. Underwear, t-shirt, pants, shoes, do not look back, his eyes will make you want to stay.


Fire has turned me into the Vanishing Girl and I’ve forgotten how to stay.


Unlock the door, close the door, don’t stop moving. It’s still raining and I can’t see but somehow I end up back home, or rather, back to my apartment. I’m not really sure what home is anymore. I sit on the carpet and light a candle, then another, and then another until there is a circle of light surrounding me. I want to feel again, the spark in my eyes seems to have gone out and I don’t know how to get it back.


One afternoon, weeks after I left, I catch my reflection in the mirror of a clothing store. I barely look alive. My lips are stained this strange shade of blue because I’m so cold. Blue. Blue like Water, like his eyes, like his veins, and I see the Water has made its way into my lips and maybe into my heart. Maybe I can love him, maybe I can be enough. The thoughts come all at once and there are so many possibilities; Is it possible for the Vanishing Girl to reappear?


I don’t think, my footsteps know the way back to you and I’m smiling for the first time in a long time. I could get used to being happy. The door is unlocked so I walk in, the smile hasn’t left my face and, oh.


Have you ever seen a river after the Water’s all gone?


So I stand in an empty house with an empty bath and an empty bed as the thunder roars, and the rain starts to fall out of my grey eyes.


Astounding Tales from The Girl in the Hospital

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So far, Tuesday has been the worst. Monday had been pretty good, I had slept through most of it (always a plus) and my dad visited me after he closed the shop to tell me about his day and read to me; so, yeah Monday was in my good books (SUCK it Garfield!) Tuesday on the other hand has been a slog, I’ve been awake for most of it for one thing and that means the nurse put on the T.V. for me, which is pretty cool…, at first. You see the thing about not being able to move is this, you can’t move. So, no reaching for the remote to change the channel because its getting dull, no turning off the T.V. so you can get some sleep and no getting up out of bed to go down the stairs of the hospital and grab a soda while you make small talk with one of the cute nurses, receptionists, patients or literally anyone for that matter.

That’s why Tuesday is now the newest member of my “to kill” list. Tuesday is the day where I’m left alone with just my thoughts and the stupid little jingle that plays on every Big John’s Big Rig Truck Store commercial. Its days like these that make being paralyzed the hardest, it gives you time to reflect and see just how horrendous your life right now really is. One day your Veronica, an 18 year old just about to get out of high school, not a lot of friends but the ones you have make you feel special and like they’ll be with you till the end, no boyfriend but its not like boys interested you all that much anyway, who really likes soccer and has a stupid little hobby for collecting trading cards for games she doesn’t and never will know how to play. The next your nothing more than a living corpse because of some freak accident where God shot a bolt of lightning down at you, and now the only “freak” part of the accident is you.

I had woken up alone with bandages around my face and right arm, at that time I didn’t feel scared or confused just groggy and light-headed, so I went back to sleep as if I were at home in my own bed and that the small pang in my stomach that something was very wrong was nothing more than the remnants of a forgotten nightmare. The second time I had woken up a male nurse was changing my pillow, I tried to ask where I was but no sound came out, I tried to move my arm to signal him but my arm was still, I was (well, still am) a sad little Pinocchio with no fairy to give it life. After learning of my vocal and mobility issues I took the next logical step in the equation… panic and try my hardest to scream.

It was the heartbeat monitor that got the male nurses attention, as it was now beeping like a metal detector that just found Captain Silver’s treasure hoard. The male nurse took a good long minute looking surprised at the heartbeat monitor before violently tripping out of the door calling for a doctor. Not that I was processing all of this at the time because I was too preoccupied running a thousand billion thoughts through my head and making the length of time between each breath shorter and shorter. I now realize that what I was doing was called going into shock and that in my state would have probably killed me if I had continued with it longer and, to be honest, with how I’m feeling right now I’m not sure I would have minded that much. With a dramatic swing of the door, an old crotchety looking woman came shooting through the door moving significantly faster than old crotchety women should and brandishing a needle in her right hand,… this did not help my rising heart rate.

The old woman sprang to my bed side and quickly inserted the needle into my arm, all while cooing, “Its alright, its alright. Everything’s going to be just fine, your going to be just fine”.

This would not be the last time a crotchety old Ukrainian woman named Dr. Anita Wylad saved my life.






When I Grow Up

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When I grow up…

…I want to be a firefighter.Image result for astronaut png cartoon

I will be an astronaut.

…I want to fight for my country.

…I will be a doctor.

I wish to make a difference.

When I grow up….

This very sentence is said by almost every toddler across the world after being asked one simple question: What do you want to be when you grow up? As a kid, the possibilities are endless. Everything seems achievable. Everything is so easy to dream about and make entire life plans about. As a kid, everyone wants to just grow up and achieve these very dreams. As a kid, that’s all you want.

That was all I wanted. Everyday I would wait for the day that I would become a ‘big kid’, become an adult, so that I could make my own decisions and achieve my own dreams. But I never realized the reality of growing up. Now that I am on the edge of adulthood, all I want to do is go back to the simpler days, days of just dreaming. Because this is what growing up really means: graduating from a school you have known your entire life, leaving home for the first time, saying goodbye to old friends and hopes to make new ones. All due to this childhood dream that your chasing.

I had a dream. I would have an enormous house, 10-15 cars, a private jet, and maybe a handful of yachts. But I never thought about the day I would actually be grown up or the day I would make the decision to follow through with this dream. I am now in charge of myself and able to make decisions for myself and the reality of it is that this anything but a dream.

The future is exciting and there are so many possibilities but now there are so many other factors. The idea of independence also means being away from family and the people that I am used to. The idea that I get to make my own decisions also means making decisions that determine my entire career, my entire life. Everything may be based in the same ideas, the same foundation, but there are so many more factors pressing down on this foundation that simply aren’t even thought about as kids.

I am growing up…

… and one thing remains constant.

I have a dream.

And I will work towards my dream every single day.

“Easy to start off your dreams but it’s harder to finish. They gon’ hate me for my ambition.” -Kodak Black


Late Night Whisper

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It’s the long nights, the nights which never see the glimmer of the moon, or the shiver of the stars light. It’s these nights where I lie in a grave of regret. All the moments I wish I could take back come together and cause me to become suppressed and obnoxious. I lie in waiting for when sleep will come but it never does. The memories of past actions make me reconsider my future actions. But its pointless. Those moments are gone and never will I see a moment even similar to it.

It hurts to stay quiet about it as every memory plays back like a trial, proving me guilty. But I lie and wait for the moment for me to overcome this array of misery knowing it will come but not now. I conceal my mind by the wishing I had looked a different way, been somewhere else, said something different, acted differently, or even simply stayed quiet. But I go to sleep, knowing that my mistakes are because of my actions and I may forget but they will never forgive.

Anger, humiliation, sadness, and shock. These have been the product of my hateful behavior, where my intentions aren’t of good will but self-interest. And no matter what my victim do back they can never overcome my unpleasant demeanor.

I can go to sleep but not after having one or two streaks of tears across by cheek. The cold night waits for me to become miserable and vulnerable to its quiet whisper. As I sleep in the tears of my family, friends, mentors, and complete strangers in the cold long nights.




Summer Partings

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For some people this journey is put on temporary hold; whereas for others, this elementary, middle, and high school journey will be replaced by a new, fresh adventure.

The day that summer begins is when partings being to tumble in.

Partings of

“Let’s hang out soon- I’ll miss you.”

Partings of

“See you next year!”

Or partings of

“I won’t ever see you again.”

You love the feeling of warm sunshine on your skin, but you are unaware of its purpose of comforting.

Comforting the

tears that trickle down your parents faces when they see you walk across that stage in your gown and cap.

Comforting the

teachers who witnessed you blossom into an abundance of beautiful flowers, as they try to hold back recollections of bittersweet nostalgia.

 And comforting the

fellow graduates who share a coming of age experience with one another that they will never forget.

Busy bees working away in a garden may bother some; or in others, prompt memories of familiar buzzing.

Familiar buzzing of

the school fire bell on your last day of school when someone decided they couldn’t wait any longer for the last 10 minutes of class to end.

Familiar buzzing of

voices whispering, voices blubbering, voices boisterous as people closely embraced one another, held hands, or even sneaked in small kisses.

And familiar buzzing of

the thundering claps you received as your name was called out to stand up and accept your diploma.

The day that summer begins is when partings begin to tumble in.

Until the next summer, a new batch of students will repeat the process.

The summer after that, another group of students will depart with adieus-

and so the cycle continues

with a summer of parting goodbyes.

This piece was inspired by my teacher’s brief speech in class about being in grade 12 with summer just around the corner. Although it’s sad to leave or let people go; life goes on. As each year rolls by- one thing I hope that every graduate acknowledges is that they should never forget where they came from, nor forget the people who helped them along the way, and be grateful for 13-14 years of schooling they’ve experienced. There are still many people out there who don’t have the opportunity to learn and have to fight for an education.

“Take action. Every story you’ve ever connected with, every leader you’ve ever admired, every puny little thing that you’ve ever accomplished is the result of taking action. You have a choice. You can either be a passive victim of circumstance or you can be the active hero of your own life.”  -Bradley Withford



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he said we are born

with more than what we die with.

firsts: an abundance

of unopened memories.

the first time you say

“thank you,” and your heart aches with

gratitude, not duty.

your first discovery

of one’s betrayal,

of your own fragility, the

lie, like an ember,

burnt its way through your

bloodstream. it settled in your

heart where it smolders still.

Like the first time your

eyes take in the vastness of

the sea – yet your mind

has yet to catch up to the


you cannot have a

lifetime filled with

the ambiguity of

an unknown fondness.

discovery is for the young.

you are born with a

handful of firsts, like coins to

make wishes in a well.

and soon you forget

the feeling of newness.

he said we are born

with more than what we die with

and had he known I

was his last taste of newness,

he would have held his breath



The above is a poem motivated by the fleeting days of May, and tests, and uniforms, and desks. This poem began as a response to my final days of high school – a life filled with new beginnings. Whether it is making new friends or first days of class, I have spent the last 13 years of my life submerged in a sea of newness. Now that I am to reflect on both my past, here, and my future, university, and impending adulthood, I see that I have taken advantage of these firsts. We are conditioned to anticipate these things, rush our lives from one to the next, yet there will come a point, and I am not sure how close that point may be, where we will no longer find joy in rushing; instead, it will be that act of remembrance that fills our hearts with joy and longing. As I reach the climactic days of graduation, I look backward at a monumental schooling experience with warmth and nostalgia, but also grief and sadness – and to my future with anticipation, nervousness, and a more profound appreciation the beauty behind the newness of it all.



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The most frightening part of life is not the absence of time, but the realization of how much of it you really have.


In my many years of schooling I have always complained of never having the time; however, looking back I had lots. This year my final year of high school, I have finally realized how important time is. I guess you could say that I should have realized it long ago, but it wasn’t until my sister dug out my old grade 9 picture.


4 years have passed by, and soon everything will come to a close. Everyone moves onto new roads, so I take it as the closest I will ever get to know them. It really is a scary thought. I begin to wonder if I did all the right things, pushed all the right buttons, and gave those around me a little more time. I know it’s not healthy to contemplate on such deep thoughts, but sometimes it needs to be done. In the last 8 years, I’ve built a number of relationships, always trying to be the best person one could ever seek while at the same time trying to balance my parents ideal “man of the house.” Rugged, strong, and protective. All of it has been consumed by these 2 simplistic goals. In the end, do I regret ever spending so much of it? I truthfully couldn’t answer such a question.


To this day it’s been a pretty bumpy ride. I can’t say I have seen it all, but it’s surprising to reflect on the past. There has been a lot of good resulting from the bad consequently there has been a lot bad resulting from the good. I never truly discovered these mysterious workings? I always just assumed “That’s how it always worked, no one knew where it all started.” Admittedly I hated the uncertainty of never finding the full truth. As time passes, more questions are being asked, but no one seems to be answering… Maybe I’ll figure it all out.
    Now as we talk about time, let’s begin, shall we? I think I’ve wasted enough of it.


To Find “X”

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17. Yemen. 2011.

Today I see another man who refuses to see me.

Today was my last day of school.

Tomorrow is my engagement party.

Sunday is my last day as a girl who revels in her little freedoms.

Monday is the unknown variable. My life rendered a function that will not reach its end until he manipulates it, changes it.

To find “x” all I must do is look for what I already have. The information given.

“Y” is equal to the sister I watched leave the house with tear stained cheeks – turned red the next time I visited. I asked why – the last time I visited. It is equal to the unwanted embrace I see her husband take from her. Equal to my fathers pockets now lined with cash in exchange for his daughter. His blood for money.

The exponent – the power of 2. Power given to my father and the man who does not look at me. But owns me. Two. The number of children I should have already had by now. Two. The seconds it takes for me to realize the reality of my situation. Two. The minutes it takes for him to disrobe. Two. The hours I lay awake, next to his sweaty body, completely unfeeling.

The constant – never changing, remaining still. Always there. Hovering. Constantly watching, calculating, warning, threatening. I cannot get rid of it if I tried. I cannot run from it if I try. If it goes away, if it decides to leave – worse yet, if it catches me sneaking away – that will be the end. The whole equation becomes destroyed and completely warped.

So to find “x” I must allow all the other information to work itself out. Just as those before me have done. They seem to have figured it out and who am I to critisize such a studied and thorough platform. The restrictions have been set – both domain and range clarified for me in the contracts I sign with a foreign hand. All of this used to be foreign to me, the variables, the exponents, all of it. But I grew used to it.



The Hardest Thing to Face

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An average teenager may have many things that they don’t like to deal with because it creates some emotions. Some of which may be; not getting accepted into a post-secondary institution, getting their phone taken away, breaking up with their boyfriend/girlfriend, or even something small like not allowed going out on a Friday night. Although I’ve experienced almost all of the things I’ve stated, there is one thing I haven’t experienced to the extreme. And that thing is having a loved one pass away.

Till this day, I haven’t experienced the loss of someone that is my immediate family. I’ve experienced the loss of a dad’s friend, my grandfather’s cousin, a few of my pets, but nobody that I was very close with. Some of my friends have had their loved ones pass away, and I’ve stayed with them through their period of mourning. And I don’t like how it feels. Even though I didn’t really have a personal connection with their loved one, I get very emotional because one day, I’ll have to experience what they have been going through. Although I’ve gone to only two funerals, both times I’ve teared up. And they were because of the eulogy.

The eulogy is a very sad thing to listen to. A loved one talks about the person that has passed away, talks about what kind of a person they were, how they acted in society, how they were loving, how they cared for everyone. It was basically the last few words about a lost one before they were cremated or buried. The eulogy is something that greatly connects to me. One day, I’ll have to recite a eulogy about someone important, without screaming and crying, and I don’t think I’ll be able to do it. I would get too emotional and, and just keep saying to myself, “They’re really gone, they aren’t going to be there for me for the rest of my life.” The emotions would be so strong that I wouldn’t be able to put my feelings into words. I think the only thing I would be able to do would be to make a slideshow of their pictures, because then, I would be alone and I wouldn’t have to show my emotions to anyone but myself.

Death is something very hard to talk about. And hopefully, I don’t have to experience it anytime soon. But one day, everybody is going to experience it. Because in life, nobody gets out alive.


Flapper Girl

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If there’s greater things to life than dance, liquor, and intimacy I’ve yet to discover them. But I feel the question is whether or not I would like to. I haven’t thought about it all that much, to be honest. The gals and I are quite content with our present situations as it is. And change is an awful lot to stomach.

If living could be as simple as a rehearsed show, then I’m sure everyone would have some merit in finding happy days. If chaos finding its order was just a sight away from watching an excellent movie, then misfortune might not rear his ugly head. And if finding love could be as simple as the debonair to a dance routine then no one would have to be damned to be lonely. Mm, no – I think fate is not quite familiar with theatre just yet.

But here we are, all dolled up for a night of fancy and undignified merrymaking.
And a five, six, seven, eight –
And so it begins with the swing, the sways, the jeers, the singing, the lights. Oh, I adore the lights. Some see themselves in isolation with a thousand poking eyes looking beneath their dresses; but unlike the likes of those folk, I like to find my comfort. There’s no magic quite like the lights that you can find anywhere else, and their adoration for my body fills me with a thrill that no man can replicate. Mm – Ma isn’t fond of the lights. She didn’t care for them as much as I did. Granted, she didn’t care much for a lot of people.
She’s dead now.

Oh my, the liveliness when people enjoy themselves for a while. It’s a wonder why people don’t do it more often. I do. It’s utterly splendid! The gals and I give it our all each night, arms like puppet dolls and our legs slim and slick with gaiety. But my solo is something special, I tell you. The boys are especially fond of me. They especially like it when I turn my back to them and I sway my hips. I feel them staring, and some of the more confident of the lot give a whistle or two. Oh, how sweet. The trick to get them to think about you is a wink accompanied by a sly smile, and they return smiles of their own, fueled with lust. It’s like they hand you a hand-crafted key – an invitation to hop in their dreams. Goodness, they love me so.
Admired by the eyes of today, robbed of any from yesterday.


There’s not much I remember of my days of being a child, but I find that one of the few things I can remember are the things that I should forget. 
I remember being taken from my bed, promised by my father that we were going on a trip to New York, and that I’d be treated to all the ice cream I wanted and I’ll get to see all the movie stars I fantasised about. I asked if Mama wanted to go too. And he said that Mama was just too tired to go to New York now. She’ll meet us there, he said. I can remember that the high spirits of a child are some of the purest things you can witness; yet, I had a cloak of wariness on me that night. That night that my father was being oddly kind to me. He held me close. He smelled of cigarette smoke.

Cigarette smoke. It lingered in the joint no matter where and when you stood. It smelled of ambivalence. Sometimes I think you can tell what people are thinking based on the smoke they exhale. Their reviews plastered to their breath, and likewise their aromas exalted their character.
I wish I was a clever girl to figure it out then.
I never said goodbye to Mama. My father and I took a streetcar to the train station, and had I known that I would never be the same little girl again, I might’ve run away sooner. 


My father stared at me before we boarded. Now that I think of it, I think he might’ve thought about leaving me on that train on my own. It might have been so much easier on him. He would have been a free man sooner, and he could have left Mama that night. I suppose even the wickedest of men have some speck of compassion in them – he boarded the train with me after a minute or so of contemplation. He let me hold his hand. I was afraid of all those people on the train. They all looked like slender giants with old weathered faces. I was still in my jammies.   

The lights help. They help me see things that I want to see, the liquor flirts with my thoughts, and sometimes my feet move so quickly that I forget who I am. And in those intervals, I revel in my reverie. It makes me feel so much younger. While we dance, I steal a glance at the other girls. Oh, they’re so pretty. The lights truly embellish their beauty and in the heat of our vehemence we turn into different people altogether. I think that first impressions should really be made on the stage. Ah, it makes me feel so much younger.

I don’t remember much of the train at all. Only that I was awake for the first 15 minutes or so, and then I fell asleep again on my father’s lap. I should have stayed awake. I could have asked my father more questions, convince him to let us go back for Mama, or at the very least taken in the sights. Anything to let me just be a little girl for a while longer. 
We eventually did get off the train. My father held me, wrapped in his coat, and I did not recognise any of the buildings and houses that just looked so ghastly and unfamiliar. It wasn’t New York. We took a taxi to a part of town that looked just as frightening at night. The sun was starting to come out. The sky turned a dismal purple. I’ll always remember that sky. 
We stopped before a humble little house. I was confused. Father knocked on the door. We were greeted by a middle-aged woman, whose face as stern as the buildings we’d seen, and whose hair, brittle as it was, was the colour of dying embers. The woman took me, and, still confused by the exchange between her and my father, I didn’t struggle much. I looked back at my father. He took back his coat, and walked up to the front porch. He looked back at me. I only stared. 
He smiled. And he winked. 
That was the last time I ever saw my father.

The show was coming to a close. The house still amused with our antics. If there’s anything us show girls never fail to do is to impress. And impress we did. A number of certain gentlemen still had their eyes on me. You can’t possibly know the power one feels when you grab people’s attention. Performers: we’re like hypnotists. They can’t help but stare, perhaps expecting something extraordinary to happen to their lives just then. It’s lovely.
With a final synchronised tap dance, we dominated the audience. And with that, tonight’s show ended, and I feel like the crowd could just fall in love with us all over again. That was the biggest applause this week.

“You are to call me Ma, understood?” That was the first thing she said to me. The woman with the embers for hair. The older man beside her was Pa. My father just sold me off to a family of good-hearted Christians. “Sold” is rather a crude word to explain the situation, but that’s what it felt like. Lightly-loved by one family, and tossed aside to another. Betrayal hurts, you know? When your own father abandons you, who can you possibly turn to after that? Did Mama even know? Even know that her little girl was gone? I’d like to think that she went out to look for me, that she got the police involved, and there were “Have you seen me?” posters hung up all over the place. No one ever came though. Ma and Pa, they had a daughter of their own. Had. She wasn’t dead or anything, but she got out of there when she could, and she never came back. She probably doesn’t even know that her own parents adopted another child to raise so that she can grow up and be a proper woman of society. Boy, oh boy, would they be disappointed.

After the show, us performers were allowed to mingle around the club. Congratulations were dealt, and praise was offered. I could soak it all in. I went to the bar and ordered myself a drink.  I felt someone approaching. Someone always does. I heeded no attention in the meantime. A shy, young man he was. He finally decided to say something when he felt he was intimidated by the other men eyeing the same woman. He said hello. A tender voice. Not-so-confident, but he had a small mark of courage; humble. I finished with my drink and turned to face him. He didn’t smell of cigarettes unlike the others I passed in the club. He was quite handsome. He had a cute smile, and he looked rather dashing in his attire. Afraid, but willing is what I noticed. Boys trying to be men. Remarkable the things you can notice just by looking at the little things. I returned the greeting, and he ordered me another drink as well as one for himself. We engaged in a conversation, and I’m slightly impressed by his way of speaking. Boys like him wouldn’t normally offer up the first few words, but we spoke and he amused me. He asked me questions and I couldn’t help but indulge him, whilst I indulged myself in a cigarette.

I grew up learning how to be a proper woman. I cooked, I cleaned, washed, partook in Bible studies. Ma taught me everything there was about the trade. I hated it all. 
Ma, more or less, became a teacher of sorts; a mentor as opposed to a mother. And Pa… I don’t know what Pa did, but he was a curmudgeon old man. He started losing his teeth and he became a lot more disturbed as the years went on. He beat me a lot when I didn’t do something right. I hated him, too. 
When I was 13 I tried to run away. I had enough. I wanted out. I lifted a bit of money out of Pa’s mattress, and I was ready to leave. I could have gone anywhere, I realised. Away from this dreadful town. Only problem was, I didn’t know which way to go. I was at home for most of my stay, under the strictness of my aggressors. We didn’t travel much elsewhere as a family other than the open market. This was no life for someone. So there I was in, the cusp of night and I ran. I obsessed about Mama all these years, and I just wanted to see her again. I don’t know where she lived though. I don’t even know if she was alive! But that didn’t matter, I just wanted my liberation. If I couldn’t figure out where Mama lived, then I’ll go to New York. That was the plan after all. 
I couldn’t get past the train station. They wouldn’t let me on without an adult with me. They called the police to come take me home, but I got away and I ran back to Ma and Pa. I got home, and they were still asleep. I don’t know if I ever cried that much since the day my father left me on that doorstep.

He was an interesting fellow. His name was Myron Goodwin. He comes from a family of unfortunate beginnings but now works as freelance artist. I conveyed my interest. I mixed my glances to Myron, to my drink, to the clubbers who were off swing dancing. I could feel him observing my figure while he thought I wasn’t looking. I got closer to him. I insisted him on finishing his drink, and I finished my own. I grabbed him by the wrist and pulled him towards the fun. He was reluctant at first, but the thought of me being involved with someone else instigated a bit of a push, because, again, men were looking. So off we went to the circle of half-drunk men and women, and we began to dance.

Ma and Pa rarely ever talked about their daughter, but when they did, all I ever heard was how much of a disappointment she was. But over the years, I only had my sympathies for Lorena. Lorena was her name. She was beautiful, I heard. And when she obeyed, she worked with incredible vigour. An ideal housewife, I was told. And the mantle of responsibility now fell to me. Housewife. Such a thought left me with contempt. I was not about to be bartered out and sold to another family. Not for a third time. I was 16. So I prepared to leave once again. 
My parents didn’t know at the time, but every night I was going off to Jazz clubs, taking lessons with other women, learning how to dance, to sing. In all the years that I lived with my loathsome adopters, never have I felt such exuberance. Being around other women my age, spoiling ourselves with luxuries of movement and arts. I recognised a part of one’s youth that I haven’t touched in years. I got my first job that way. A handsome director saw my talents as a performer and took me under his wing – insisting that I “audition” for him. I would have never expected the things he would do for me, the places I got to go and see. The world was filled such wonders! Was this the life I could have had? The one I was missing? I always knew there were better things that the Americas had to offer than the life of a measly housewife. 
The day quickly came when I took my leave. For the first time in years, I began to smile. I could feel the cobwebs and the dust finally become undone. Ma insisted I take my Bible with me. Disappointed as she was in my choosing to abandon everything they taught me to be, she still believed she had the right to call me a daughter of hers. With that stern look in her statuesque face, she said to adopt the Lord as my shepherd, and I would find forgiveness and refuge in my future. Instead, the only thing I adopted was short hair and even shorter skirts. She was not in control; I was.

For the record, Myron danced astonishingly well. The two of us ended up pushing all the other dance partners out of the cypher, and people looked on at the two of us at the center. I noticed some nods of envy within the eyes of some of the men. Goodness, if I was this popular I might as well have danced with all of them! But no, Myron was special. His movement, his demeanor, his fresh youth reminded me a lot of myself during my time with Ma and Pa.

The dance soon ended, Myron was left panting and in need of another drink and myself laughing with joy as its been a while since a boy was able to keep up. I took up another smoke. Myron had quite a bit of fun as well. He laughed and had the most brilliant smile. I felt like he deserved something for his efforts. I felt like I deserved something for mine. I walked up to him and blew smoke in his face. He grinned. I laughed, while I put even less distance between our bodies. Our lips were close. So close I could feel any remaining smoke from my lips were attracted to his. He wanted me, I know he did. His body was just faltering under a craving. He was too gentleman-like to say – do – anything. So I kissed him. He needed more. And I was struck under my desire as well.
I needed him.

I let him escort me home. We took a taxi.
We sheltered ourselves quickly into the apartment.
Words weren’t exchanged.
Hands groped at clothing. Lips parted not.
An unzipped dress. An unbuttoned shirt. Hair undone. Garments discarded.
Our bodies flushed red, flexing only with lust.
Hands on my chest, his tenderness, slipping down my body. His hunger. My starvation.
The heat of his breath on my throat.
My hands, my feet clutching him closer.
His hips moved silently. Our moans broke any stillness.
I need,
then slow,
and stillness again.
He yields to me.

My only memory left of Mama was of myself peering out the window to see the commotion. There were street-performers dancing. People laughed at their foolery, but I remained fascinated. I was only a babe, and the door was open so I walked outside to get a closer look. I mimicked what the performers did. Amused by my own legs and what they could do. I showed Mama. I forget what she looks like, but I knew she was delighted with my gifts for movement. Proud, I cannot say for sure. But I feel like she was a dancer too. My good genes must have come from someone. And my two feet met pleasantly well. I won’t ever know for sure though. One thing for certain is that a child will always be cursed to their mother. 
Both of them.

He sleeps. Sex is the only promise for a man to stick around. Myron lays next to me. And I remain wide awake. I remember the first time I made love to someone. It bloomed a yearning I never thought I wanted but needed. The pain interlaced with pleasure. Quick in becoming exclusively the latter. It provided fulfillment for something I never had.
But the years went by, so did the men, and it all became meaningless anyway.
What used to fill me with ecstasy then became void of feeling.
The girls ask why I even bother.

Partly because I dread to be left to my loneliness.
And partly because my young years are still left on that train.

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