My mother is setting down the blue canister of flour, white bleeding into my sleeve as I sop up the dust I’ve spilled. She is smiling and the light catches her eyes, ones I’ve always wished she gave me: golden rings, flying blue saucers floating in peridot. Enigma eyes.
This is like my mother, who in her own way has no secrets and many. Today I am sitting around the island, our island of skeletons, and I am pulling her strings, opening her so she will tell me about the past, one I promised as a child I would write for her.
She is telling me about the lump on her throat when we were one person. It was like a ghost, methodically pulling at the delicate, thin skin on her neck. It was a ghost, and I summoned it as it lay barren within her. I try not to think of the notes she would be able to sing if I could have derived from some other time and place.
My eyes are pulled to the red exclamation mark that hugs her skin, the specks of crimson against faint hues of tawny. Pain rolls through my esophagus when I think of the incision. I look away.
My mother begins unfolding the story of the bump along her neck; she begins one along the outskirts of her mind. She is telling me about a waiting room, about a placental hemorrhage and a world where we both had fallen into the void, where I would have been a cell or two and she would have left a baby and a man.
Later, when I am lying in the safety of my childhood bed, I write down six words:
I AM MEANT TO BE HERE.
About the author
Lauren Stanzione is a graduate of North Hunterdon High School and a future student at New York University, where she plans to major in journalism and minor in creative writing. She is from Clinton, New Jersey, and has dreamed of being a writer her entire (so far short) life. She hopes to funnel her interest in writing either through a journalistic or creative avenue, depending on where the world takes her!