With a twist she slips from the officer’s grasp and runs for the dock, legs pumping, perching a second on the railing to gather energy before launching into the water with a dive that cuts the icy waves. Above the surface chaos erupts, shouting and arguing, but she is too deep and too far already to catch words. She swims. Limbs slicing through the water like blades, sharper than the Exacto knife she’d wielded in triumphant frenzy, she swims. Away from the useless counselors. Away from the father who buys love with diamonds and Gucci. Away from the memory of a mother, somewhere and yet nowhere. Away from the gnawing emptiness inside that makes her control, manipulate, destroy everything and everyone who reaches out. They will catch her, but until they do she swims toward the horizon and thinks only of the water buoying her forward.
[ Had a dream I was several different characters from The Girls of No Return, a book about a wilderness camp for delinquent girls. I very much recommend it! ]
Bradbury has followed me through the years, both companion and guide, close to my side as any holy book. I have read him in dorm rooms late at night and New Mexican laundromats at high noon; in hotel rooms in Switzerland and Portland; on trains down the continent, planes across the ocean, buses through the city; in the deepest wilderness and in bed by sick, slumbering lovers. I have read him when I needed rekindling, when I needed reminding, when I needed a rescue. I have read him desperately, ravenously, wondrously.
It’s ironic, now that I think about it; in a way, you are my fairy godmother.You revealed yourself to me when I was young and awkward and in need of a guiding hand. You gave me a cloak with which I transformed into the better version of myself: confident, brave, powerful. A little mysterious, too; the character in the shadows whose alliances are suspect, whose past is as unreadable as their gaze. I needed that. I needed to become strong by feigning strength, even if my bravery turned back to rags at midnight. I still do sometimes, actually. I still settle your cloak over my shoulders when the world is too harsh, too bleak, too much to face as myself. I wear your electricity and fearless madness like armor, your confidence my shield and your unrelenting ego my sword. You’re a nontraditional fairy godmother, but then again, I’m a nontraditional heroine.
[ Daren doesn't usually react to things on my side of reality, but something about the story of that imprisoned transgender teenager who escaped from a treatment facility (only to be soon caught) rubbed him the wrong way. Interesting... ]
her heart a molten core
her skin the grains of mountains weathered by wind and rain and ice and time
her nails delicate pink seashells
her eyes the flashing of lighthouses beckoning lost ships
her hair a tangle of cedar boughs and blackberry vines and cold, clear creeks
her shoulders mountains capped in snow
her breasts beach dunes brushed by wind and waves
her feet granite, her legs layers of glacial till and volcanic ash
her hips the curved bays of rocky shores
her scent rainstorms and sea salt and wet animal musk
her lips red as summer’s prize apples
her smile daffodils breaking through winter dead fall
her voice the susurration of wavelets, her laughter bird calls
her presence the ripe harvest moon, heavy and gold in a velvet sky