She surprised me. Like the shock of a jellyfish, eye opening and painful.
I wasn’t like this.
This isn’t me.
And from that moment I saw her, it took me seven years to be free.
She was always present, but never around. Not in the lunchroom or in the hall. Her photos confused me, but made my heart fall.
But… I wasn’t like this.
This isn’t me.
That flicker of light was blown out by heteronormativity.
I’d see her twice a year, three if the stars aligned, at this point in life I’d love to rewind, just because she had a perfect smile and skills to match.
She was a winner, but too hard to catch.
That year in high school was coming to a close. And it was the last stand off.
Home field advantage. But we never won.
I watched her walk away, the last time I saw her… Not even knowing she was my “someone”.
Photo Credit: Eiko Jones, August 23, 2016, taken while on a night dive in Tahsis, B.C.
I’ll never know where my love of silence came from. Quite possibly from the fact that I come from the mountains, where the only sound is that of nature, where the winds make the pines swish, making their way down the seams in the mountains, to settle on the valley floor.
I have began venturing into some free
writing activities, here’s the first of many:
It was hard to get the fire started. I hadn’t been a boy scout, and my dad was the typical accountant type–hair parted to the side, nasally voice, accompanied with an aversion towards the outdoors comparable to the plague. So, here I was, scraping the flint and tinder box with no accelerant. I felt like everyone was watching, but such was not the case. Everyone was hard at work, prepping for the ceremony. My ceremony. I cowered down inside, thinking to my self that I wasn’t worth all the trouble, all of the–attention. But I had made this choice willingly.
Finally a spark took to the dried grasses I had half-hazardley picked.
As soon as I had chosen to do this my fate had been sealed. Only verbal agreement necessary. I was being inducted.
I blew on the fragile flame, watching it take to the sun-dried foliage. I cautiously added kindling to avoid smothering the flame, it was quite infantile, not yet able to breathe and grow on its on. I watched the others in the clearing until they turned my way, I motioned to them and they began to head over.
My temples started to sweat underneath my thick hair.
I couldn’t keep this from happening now. The fire had been lit.
I could see the shadow of the small hare dangling by it’s ears in Fisk’s grasp, limply swinging back and forth with his gait. I silently hoped that the blood will have cooled by the time I had to touch it.
Anna and Thomas grinned at me when they got within sight, I returned a nervous smile. But they understood, induction night was always a bit tense. Behind me Fisk slit the hare’s throat–who small head was strangely adorned in a crown of white alpine daisies and dandelions. The dark liquid pooled in the dust next to the fire, which was important, unbeknownst to me at the time. The blood had to be mixed with the soil before it could be distributed, to connect you to the earth in the area you were inducted in.
Each of us watched as the pool continued to grow, looking more like chocolate syrup in the low light. Fisk crouched down to a short stump and placed the hare gentle onto it. He then picked a daisy from the miniature crown and put it behind his ear like a cigarette, stuck his pointer and middle finger into the blood, removed them and then smeared the blood across his forehead over his brows.
I swallowed, too dry and too loudly, they could tell I was nervous. Anna and Thomas then followed suit, and then it was me. I took a breath and went to crouch down to retrieve my daisy, but I felt a hand on my shoulder. I looked back and saw Fisk handing me a crown of my own! He moved closer to me, placed it on my head and then motioned towards the coagulating pool on the ground. I put my fingers into it, it was sticky and lukewarm, and I tried not to think of it when I smeared it on my forehead.
I stood and faced the small fire, which everyone had circled around. A quick glint of light caught my eye and I saw Fisk flipping open a pocket knife. I had known this was coming, it had been no secret–but still, it surfaced as a sickening surprise. One-by-one Fisk cut into our palms, I watched as the blade slice into my soft skin and left an oozing trail behind.
I felt something drip down my temple, was it sweat? Blood? I couldn’t wipe it away, so it ran down the side of my face, tickling it as it fell.
Fisk cleaned off the blade on his shirt after cutting himself last. Anna smiled, almost graciously as he did so, and then interlaced her fingers with Thomas’. They then reached out to me. Me! I was dumfounded and unable to move. Finally I took a small step forward, held out each hand and felt each of them take one. And then there was Fisk, directly across the fire, across the circle. He told me that Mother Earth had chosen me. Anna squeezed my hand, and I felt our seeping palms squish into each other until the blood mixed and dripped between our fingers to the ground.
My stomach lurched, but I coughed it back. The pain made me wince. I looked up and across to Fisk. He smiled and said to me with a wink.
“Don’t worry Daisy, the first cut is the deepest.”
And it was then, that moment, that I knew I was going to be okay.