Who am I now? Life has softened me, has nestled me into her clutches. I am no longer thigh-high boots and an expert at heartbreak but something (someone?) a little more subdued now, diluted into someone pure enough to meet your mother, to take home for an afternoon, staying for supper and after for a movie. But still, though I am now watered down, extinguished to a calm ember, I cannot rid myself of the memory. In springtime, my body in a floral dress, everything sprouting in the late May breeze, I still remember. I remember the season of barrenness, of having no water to quench my fever, merciless and brazen. I remember when I was the drought—not the garden—but the thing deserted, the paradise lost, the apocalypse of becoming.

It’s hard to hold you when I carry this around with me. I want so badly for you to think of me as blank slate, your tabula rasa untouched and holy. I want so badly to be more like the others, their “privilege of being” empty, dragging no complex history behind them as they walk. Those other girls do not need to conceal anything. They are as blank as newborn babies, fresh-faced and unashamed. I, on the other hand, keep my eyes cast to the sidewalk and laugh with hand over mouth. It’s as if I’m afraid of what they will find if I linger just a little too long, that they will be able to sense the fabrication I exude, that perhaps all of my plasticity will melt down to the real me- cowering in the corner, raw and infected.

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