“Don’t tell me about your life,” your sister says, shutting the door in your face.
“Okay, sorry for existing,” you reply, grumbling down the stairs.
You walk outside. Hang out with a trash can.
You feel sad and seek solace. You start analyzing dirt. Intrigued by the billions of microorganisms in a spoonful of soil. This is what psychologists mean when they say you block out billions of sensory bits of information every moment. Stuff it in your subconscious.
You start singing from the yard. Yelling at her through the window. You pick dandelions to make into jelly for a Beltane festival. Blossoms stain your fingers yellow. You will use a sweetener with a lower glycemic index.
You’re mad, but the robins are singing and the peepers are peeping, and you find it hard to hold onto your anger when the lilacs smell so sweet. Lightning bugs pick glass shards from your heart, one by one.
Your thoughts want to trick you into believing nothing is going on outside your feelings, but crocus are blooming and owls scream so loud you can’t ignore them.
Bumblebees dance over gold petals.
You will be the spring queen. Self-ordained. It’s been snowing all year, April ice has finally melted, and you’re ready for plants to start popping out of the ground. Where did they go? Like magic they explode from the earth, burst from skeleton branches. Vines resurge from dead ground.
You keep singing. The fire in your blood matches the sunset. You scrunch your nose and stick out your tongue towards the house, weaving a dandelion crown.
Your sister stays in her room. She wants nothing to do with you. Her head is stuck in a book. Her eyes blackened by the ink. Soon the words will subsume her irises and she will start to cry stains.
She will make bad decisions because her life will be a novel, and everyone makes bad decisions in novels. She will become a misty day, a shadow walking over the moor, a starry night made for lovers. She will live in the intensity of her emotions, a violence, a calm, like cold wind settling over a ruptured volcano. A repose beyond the silence of the dead.
She will be in the colosseum, the countryside, taking the train across mountains. Cathedral lights will bounce yellow off her black pools. She will walk down cobblestone streets. She’ll go to Zurich, Croatia, run her finger through water fountains. Beer will foam, amber liquid filled and refilled. She will smile with wine stained teeth, and be happier than most people can imagine.
And you will be far away, floating in space, living on a rock in the middle of the galaxy. You will be an idea to her. She will come out to mold you like clay every once in a while. She will recoil when your shape is noncompliant. You will be in the backyard, singing to an empty house.
She will be mad at everything you say and do. And you will get farther and farther away floating on your rock. You’ll be hated and alone. You will retreat, but you won’t read novels. Your eyes won’t turn black. You won’t make bad decisions, because you’ll be looking at cherry blossoms, petals unfurling. You’ll burn swamps into your retinas. You’ll bury fire-breasted orioles and drink the smell of rotting leaves.
Years will pass. One day she will come outside. The rain will wash the black away. She will have mulberry trees and gardens. Birds will croon from the branches of fruit trees. You will give up singing to her. She will still be the protagonist of her novel, and you will be a secondary character, orbiting her story.
Gabrielle Griffis is a mutli-media artist and musician. She studied creative writing at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she has also worked as an affiliate of the Juniper Writing Institute. Her fiction has been published in or is forthcoming from XRAY Literary Magazine, Gone Lawn, Cease, Cows, decomP, Ghost Parachute, and Blue Lake Review. She works as a librarian on Cape Cod.