By Rosalva Ruiz (SuperNova)
In between shadows, grabbing her daddy’s legs, acknowledging her delicate and small figure; nevertheless, curiosity getting the best of her, that’s how I first met her. Her brown eyes grew wide as soon as she set her eyes on the quantity of books in front of her. She finally forgot her fortress and dared to step in front of her dad. She came over and opened my empty heart; getting inside and never letting go.
And so, the days went by, I had a companion by my side. She showed me the glory of happiness. Some days, she danced like a swan, some others tapping to the sound of Frank Sinatra’s “New York” song; Hawaiian and folklore songs were included in her repertoire. Then again, books and playing board games with the family were her favorite. Sometimes she was mischievous with her sister, then again, knew not to cross the line. Innocence, love and compassion emanated from her to the point that somehow it rubbed into me. Like that one time when she was crying because one of her cats was missing during a hurricane, the kitty’s mother was next to her trying to console her by licking and caressing her while looking at the entrance door with expectations that at any moment her cub would come in. I wanted to caress her too; then again, I was only able to watch them in silence.
Once, she came in the middle of the night and let herself into my embrace. Although, I was a bit surprised, as soon as I heard those sobbing words, “Please, make me invisible, please, please…” And so I did. Not once, but every time she came to me. Until that day that I finally understood what impotence means. She no longer fit into my embrace at least not to make her invisible. That day, as he took her away, I became aware of my inability to move, to act, to protect that little girl. When I saw her again, she was not as cheerful, but the glow in her eyes was still there. She sat next to me reading a book, as she always did; and after a little while, she finally crumbled into me, showing me a side of her that I had never seen.
I thought I knew her, even though there were days when she seemed like this. I thought it was just a child’s mood change; however, now I see, that this child is not really that delicate, she has the heart and mind of an eagle. Crumbling, leaving behind her old plumage, to resurge as the great being she is. That moment, I decided to be there for her when she needed me, for her happy moments, as well, as her sorrowful moments.
The days passed and as I promised myself, I enjoyed her happy times where there were dances, parties, singing, poetry practice, reading and even confiding her first love to me. Even though, I was a bit annoyed at that and didn’t know why, just looking at her bright smile I was content. However, I also embraced her in her sorrowful nights. That man would come from time to time to take her away, and every time I would try, but my immobile body wouldn’t let me. I could only watch and wait till she came back to me, ready to comfort her and dissipate those horrible memories and aches in her body and soul.
After time passed, she became a little lady and I finally understood what missing means. She is not here as much as she used to. She turned 13 and has gone to study far away. During some weekends she turns my way, but as soon as Sunday comes, she leaves once again.
Although I miss her so, I’m content when she tells me all her anecdotes for that week. She seems happy; I see that glow from when she was little added with a glint of hope and achievement. Today, she mentioned that person; he no longer has her in his grasp. She feels free and wants to explore the world, yet I feel a sadness running through me. This girl that only had me to rely on is no longer looking for my embrace. I have finally understood what selfishness means. Every day that passes, is a day that she take steps further away, yet here I am unmoving, unchanging, just waiting for her to come to me.
And so, the time goes by and she becomes a mom. She came back for a while. She is recovering her broken heart and soul. And as I did before, she came to me knowing that I will be her sobbing and silent friend. Not mentioning any reproaches, just embracing her, giving her time to settle her internal torment, and once again, letting her stand on her own.
And so she goes once again away from my world. During this time, I saw a new side to her since now she became a mom; her target for playing has changed. She plays board games with her child, and sometimes becomes mischievous with him too. Sometimes she brings her boy and tells him that I’m her friend, but he doesn’t seem to understand. Then again, he also comes into my embrace. Even though he has a different glow, he is part of her, and she is part of him, and that gives me hope…
Then again, I’m but a bookshelf that only sees the passage of time through my surroundings. These four walls and what “they” bring or take away are my only encounters to the outside world. Only a few have truly touched my almost inexistent soul, and that she did…
I became aware of feelings, an unmoving warm and safe place for somebody, and I became the bearer of music and knowledge to some others. As for some, I was but a piece of wood made into rectangles with five doors as my feet, from which one of them was just for her.
And as time passes by, and people keep coming and going by, I’m unmoving, unchanging hoping to see her radiant smile once again. Then again, time passes by and the surrounding of her glowing brown eyes become adorned with small rivers entitling her years. Just like the lands that were once smooth, with the passage of time and the changes of environment, the rivers became to be and are part of the scenery.
In this solitary place there are no hanging frames, no warmth from anywhere, just the bright light during the day, followed by the moonlight during the night. And here I am remembering the young scenes of her warmth echoing in these four walls waiting, wishing and hoping to be able to see that lovely scenery again…
*This story is published in ECHOES AN ANTHOLOGY
BY THE 2019 MPL WRITING CIRCLE.