The author of The Gift of an Imaginary Girl: Coco and other Stories–which many of you helped make it to publication with contributions to her GoFundMe campaign, returns with a poignant story.
Having unwrapped the vessels of our assorted carrier pigeons, I tally ten more stories that arrived before March 15th, a bit more than I first thought. I don’t want to crowd them together, to give each author enough time on our carousel to garner a fair number of comments, so I will continue posting only a couple each day until the in-box is empty, and we move on to the finalist stage. Here is a list of authors remaining to be posted: If you have sent in something and have not seen it posted or are not on this list, please send me an email. The SatiKushes have feathers in their mouths, which could explain any discrepancies!
Mac Egan (one more to post)
Diane Cresswell (2 more?)
Judge Katz (one more)
Laura Girardeau (one more)
Grant Laurence (one more)
Derek Thompson (one)
Donald Trump (just kidding!)
Michael Dilts (one)
Brian Harrison (one)
Stefanie Allison (one)
Did I miss anybody?
In the meantime, take a deep breath and read this entry from Kristy Webster, who never seems to lack the courage to bear her soul.
by Kristy Webster
I knew love before I knew air, before I took my first breath.
You were there with me, though I can’t remember you. At least, not with the kind of memories that stand alone like their own person. But a looping echo, a whisper that I was not alone in my mother’s womb. Our mother’s womb.
She would have named you Jason, had you survived instead of me. I wonder, is this why when I fell in love with a redheaded woman and we made love, I felt myself enter her as a man? Is this I’ve why I’ve shorn my head so many times, looked in the mirror and asked, Who are you, really?
I imagine you a little taller than myself, but with the same dark hair and blue eyes. I imagine you as my keeper and confidant, my other half, my first love. I picture us bouncing a red ball back and forth to one another on a sunny afternoon, until we tire, collapse into a field of dewy grass, my hand reaching for yours through the green blades, yours reaching back. Us, smiling. Us, with our fingers tightening.
The healer told me, You are haunted. Told me, You had a twin brother. She looked to my right, saw you standing beside me, not as a ghost, or an almost man, but like a white shadow at the edge of a precipice heartbreakingly vast.
It’s time to say goodbye, she said. But how? I thought, when I had just come to know you, my never brother, my almost twin, maybe even my better half.
I hesitated at the thought of letting you disappear. Because you had vanished, not into the atmosphere, not into an unreachable realm, you vanished inside of me. Your skin, your bones, your organs, your nose, all of it, merged with mine. And what was two souls, was one, was two, were halves and un-whole. And I understood then, why the healer had said, It is time to say goodbye. Because as long as you followed me, Shadow Brother, you would forever be damned to live as a half thing, an almost being. Didn’t I want you to be whole? Didn’t I want you to enter the place where you would ignite in flesh and blood, rather than as an apparition? A wayward and desperate specter?
I did. I did want that for you. I wanted it for me, too. Because how long did I fall into drink, a swimmy-headed girl, her gut filled with wine? How long did I search for an answer to my Otherness? To the warring nature of my dizzy and blue-minded selves?
Step out of the circle, she said. I stepped out. Say goodbye, she said. I said it, I said, Goodbye, Brother. Tears, followed by sobs, for a You that never was, but will always be.
This round, black stone I carry in the hollow of my neck? A heart, for you.