Vasco Izar, D11 [done] Aug 10, 2017 16:32:19 GMT -5
Post by zorionak on Aug 10, 2017 16:32:19 GMT -5
And I'll spend my years hoping to find that sweet shore
A place where you'll tell me
Our love kept you warm
And our hearts stopped the pain
We told stories with shadows.
All of us izars would spend hours around the fire, telling tales. Men with great swords that rode horses and wore crowns. Sailors that pressed to the edge of creation and dropped off the edge of the map. Women that took to the stars and lived on the moon—great, fanciful stories all made with edges of fingers and curl of shadows. We were children of the make believe. For us, we could imagine the footsteps we’d never walk, because what was living if there was no dreaming?
Our eyes were full of stars in youth.
Where did the days go, when we walked up that hill and dipped our toes in the water? When Bakar would dunk my head under water, and we would hold our breath until we thought our lungs would explode—those days that dripped into fall, harvest time, plucking ears of corn and chasing the wind in the trees. We too would watch the leaves turn to red and orange, to brown and—we would watch the world move from alive to not alive, to passing and passed. Te quiero, we’d say, because our abuela taught us words we weren’t supposed to know, te quiero y te amo y te odio y— we felt everything.
The days ran ahead of us. Bakar was first to push passed the hill of eighteen, and the others followed. I was young, the little one, the runt—espera!—but they didn’t listen, because they were too far ahead of me. A world ahead, they watched the skies as though the stars would tell them more than the shadows. Espera, espera! Their stories became shadows, and all of them left. Days became about the next moment, about what would you do, where do you go, what can we do? Worrying replaced dreaming.
My shadows never left me.
Emma would say to me, what do you see? What world did I have, looking at a little flame. I wasn’t like my cousins, I wasn’t running round chasing the sun. I was slow and dragged my feet. I let my hair take on the wind (and the wind would win). I took my brother’s shirts and wore them to threads, pants too big for me and shoes too tight. But we had more, we had our own. I just never needed to grow out of what they had—it became a comfort, to live in their clothes, to remain in the years that were so dangerous but meant less to anyone else.
Don’t you want to get old? She said to me one afternoon, staring up at an endless blue sky. I let the thought roll around in my head and bounce round and round. Te quiero, I would say, because it was true—and I wouldn’t have to answer her if our lips were pressed together. Warm and sweet and—was this one reason to get old? Ah, I could live with this reason. I could live with her hands pulling off my shirt, or mine, sliding up her dress. I could live together, back and forth, in the shadows with her. Our shadows made a story, one that brought two together, until we were three.
She said, we can’t be young. And they said, you can’t be a child anymore. And I said, I don’t know how to be anything else.
I only knew shadows, of a world that was my make believe. I couldn’t think of tomorrow, or tomorrow, or the day after. That was for boys that rushed to become men—the ones that breathed in summer and came out different by spring. My voice still cracked and the hair on my chin never appeared. But when I pressed my hand to her stomach, or when she told me I need you, she was all the reason to pretend I could be someone else.
Raquel tumbled into our world, little brown eyes and a sour wail. My shadows were there, when she wrapped her little fingers around mine. I could see whole worlds in the circle of her little eyes beaming back at me. I could’ve seen more, if I hadn’t wept holding her in my arms. She was a part of us then and forever, until my own story fades to black.
We found ourselves in that little farm, one built with unsteady hands and impatient hearts. Raquel would teeter around and over my shoulder—because she was brave, and I was clumsy—our little adventurer. Emma would take her in her arms and smother her with kisses, an endless love that we said we’d build like a shield. There is no fear where there’s love, and I would give all I could to make it so.
They all stretched me thin, but I want to believe we had enough to spare. Would you say it? It’s hard to even think what you’d say—there could have been more toys, more space, more time—but we were not the izars down the way, scraping by and scraping one another. We looked into the flames and we watched the shadows. We lived in footsteps we had never seen, and brought one another into worlds of our own creation.
I would put my hands behind the flame and cast the shadow, and we’d spend time with princes and princesses, in army men and far off lands. Little Sofia would giggle and Emmanuel would sigh; and Raquel would watch, and listen—she thought through her stories, until each word was bound to the next. By the time she was finished, we would be silent, hanging on the words she left unsaid. She was always that way; I wondered of all the things that she left behind, that drifted to nothing behind those brown eyes.
To leave us took courage—she was, I suppose, the bravest of us. And I still wonder, if all those stories, and all of what we gave, had been enough. I think about it all the time now, about you all the time. Every eye roll you could give, every ounce of sass, I’d take it all and let it bury me under six feet if it meant that when I came home from the fields at the end of that dining room table your face would be staring back at me.
I haven’t touched the shadows since you left, but—
We’re going to be one more, Emma says.
I cry into her blouse, and kiss her face and her lips. We are children by the water again, smiles and heart, two bodies pressed closed together. She says it will be a boy, but I think it’s a girl. She’s three months late and she thinks it’s from the night we drank sweet wine and put you all to bed early. And I tell her I remember how she looked—hair tumbled round her shoulders, little laugh lines on her face—she had said she didn’t feel beautiful after a day in the hot sun. And I kissed her arm and said that the inch beneath her elbow was beautiful, and above, and all the way to her neck—beautiful. She said I was drunk, but she kissed me back.
And two hearts became three, again.
You won’t know him—or her—and it cuts into me. Sometimes I have to take some time, away from the men in the fields, or Sofia when I walk with her. I think I’ll chip apart like a piece of porcelain, but not yet.
And I think, even as my heart breaks every morning, I have so much love. I have a world that’s still inside of me, a world I still have to give to all of them. And it may not have been enough to give you, but I still believe I can give to them.