You watch, you keep track of your knees, and depending, your elbows too. The wounds are your reward, after you prove again and again that you’re a brave girl. Mommy sees your wounds, she’s proud of you, she was a brave girl too. Brave girls can look at each other and just know.
One house away, a dad with four kids hangs a knotted rope from a thick high branch. You watch his kids, who are so lucky to have this tree, you watch what they do. Finally, finally it’s your turn, you jump up and grab the rope, it’s rough, always rougher than you expect, but that’s good. You won’t let go.
You pitch yourself away from earth, hard away out into space. Space is expanding, making room for you, brave explorer, you will find new worlds. Right now is when everyone sees how strong you are, how brave. After that no one will doubt that you belong.
Someday she will die. It won’t be me who kills her, most likely it’ll be her own scurvy body, but I’ll be happy just the same.
You push through the air, all the way around the tree. Sometimes you slam into the barnacles of rough bark, but you kick back in time, so your momentum doesn’t stop, it’s still your turn, you keep going.
Her differences don’t make her special. She’s not special, she’s defective. I don’t want her near me.
When you get home, and your mother sees you bleeding, and she washes your cuts. She anoints them with her glass wand of Mecurochrome.
You have to wait. A good way to keep track of your scab is when you’re in the bathroom, peeing. You can bend over and smell the dirty rusty blood smell. Getting into bed you smell it again. The bed is across the room from your sister. You have the same black and white check wool blankets. In the morning her blanket is on the floor and her hair is all sweaty and tangled.
I will be so pissed off if I die first.
Even when your cut scabs over, you wait some more, till it gets thick. It hesitates, and this resistance, is part of the pleasure of peeling it off. Sometimes you’re a little hasty. Then some puss leaks out of your skin. So what. You put the scab under the music box Uncle Norman and Aunt Nan brought you from Austria.
On one of your moves, a man in blue overalls will bring this blanket out of the long van. It could be yours, or maybe you have hers by mistake. By then she will be dead.
Only tough fearless girls get the wounds that scab, girls who don’t are sissies. They get what they deserve.
You eat your scab. It might be soft, or if you’ve left it awhile, crunchy. Like Bacon Bits, before there were Bacon Bits.
No one will ever love me again. All that is kaput.
The eating, the chewing, refuels, it fills up the well.