It was my eleventh birthday when everything went to hell. I was a little girl, a simple girl. I favored tea parties, pigtails and the smell of cotton candy on a warm summer day and could never understand why my barbie’s hair wouldn’t grow back after I cut it with my TommyGirl scissors. I was simple in my wishes and simple in my dreams. I remembered one time my father asked me what I wanted to be when I got older. I told him I wanted to be a giraffe. It was a simple wish and I of course thought it plausible. But he merely patted me on the head and told me, “That’s stupid honey. Grow up some.”
I was eleven years old, just turned. I didn’t want to grow up. I wanted to stay in my little townhouse and write on the sidewalk with chalk while I dreamed on what color giraffe I was going to be when I possessed the knowhow to actually become one. I just wanted things to be simple. I didn’t understand why things had to be so complicated for all the grown ups. And I decided that if growing up meant things got confusing, then I would stay little forever. I would stay simple. But unfortunately everything around me did its best not to be. The world liked to be complex. It liked to twist, to distort. To bleed you dry of whatever feeling you could muster while still letting you hold on to your sanity so that you could experience heartache at its prime. I didn’t know how cold the world could be when I was eleven. If I would have known… then maybe I would have packed a sweater.
It was my eleventh birthday when everything went to hell. As my father scooped me into his arms and bolted out the door with my frozen body, I saw my mother fade away from me in the distance, standing there with a pan and a look of regret. They took my mother from me that day. The police came and shipped her off to a place for people who suffered from a lack of… mental stability. No charges were pursued because there was no body, no blood. Only my mother’s crazy ranting and my father’s push to have her institutionalized came from this ordeal. And I would later face years of psychological observation to make sure I didn’t suffer from the same affliction as she did, whatever that may have been. My father and I lived in that house alone for seven years. We never moved. Don’t ask me why.
I had been changed forever that day… and no one ever mentioned my eleventh birthday again.
We don’t celebrate birthdays now. We don’t really celebrate anything anymore. My life has been hollow, been empty and filled with broken promises and destroyed dreams, so nothing nowadays receives much glee. Coming up on the end of my junior year in high school it seemed like few things really comforted me or brought me significant happiness… not since before that rainy birthday which took my family and broke it into little unsalvageable parts and pieces have I ever felt complete.
I longed for something, anything that could put my shattered heart back together. Anything that could bring out that small little pigtailed girl from before and leave this cold, dark-haired outer shell behind… but I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t see what else there was to live for. I simply existed at this point… as I searched for something that would breathe life back into me. Something that would bring back whatever it was my mother took away.
I cursed her, blamed her, hated her… and I missed her so much.
But I missed me even more.