At first, you won’t notice it. You will be young and freckled from too much sun, fawn-thin from too much time spent riding bikes.
You won’t notification it because children are not suppose to know sadness. It will feel more like a stir, a fetal thing waking from a nap. It will keep you up at night are concerned about demise and saying awkward things on the playground that the other girls perceive as weird.
It will really sink its talons in you during your teen years. It will cause you to open yourself up , not once, but multiple times, as if bleed enough could purify you. A hairline cracking in your foundation, much like a glacier dividing softly from warmth, will start happening. And it won’t stop growing until 5 years later, even after the hospital visits, even after your father looks at you with a mixture of sadness and pity you can’t explain, even after it’s yawning wide open on both sides of you until you can’t tell the difference between your own darkness from the pitch black of night.
You will be 18 and a walk-to nerve ending. Winter will make you feel anxious. You will have a problem building female friends. You will go to Vermont. You will be 23, still awkward, still raw. You will go to New Orleans. You will be 25. You will have a good job, a puppy and a Honda. You will go to Europe for the first time by yourself.
You will hide it under euphemisms. You will conceal it under bulky sweaters and Miller Lite. You will hide it under poetry.
In later years, you are able to learn to control it, set it in a enclosure, jostle it in the back of your closet, decorate it with pretty window draperies and flowers. You will go to the gym. You will drink plenty of water. You’ll forget about it.
But sometimes, it will come back. It will be a Sunday afternoon or an evening in autumn and you will be left on your knees. You will accidentally trip over something one morning- a book? a table?- and autumn, and you are able to sit there in the dark crying for hours , not knowing why.
And you will come out of it. Maybe in six weeks. Maybe in six years. But you will not emerge like a race horse starting from the gate. You will not bolt into the sunshine, powerfully, charging. You will come out of it more like a victim of an oil spill, your plumages tethered by the weight of it all, flightless.
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