By Kayli Harley, TIWP Student
I was water then, eroding the skin of my face each night and waking up swollen and healed. But I could feel the salt beneath the layers, stinging and humming to be touched by air, to dissolve. I was water then, and I didn’t want to be. My room became a glass box with the air sucked out and the tide rising. I can see the painting now: a young girl kneeling on the ground with broken lungs, one hand on her chest, the other frantically combing through her hair, tears dispersing into the pool of water around her. I hated it. I hated those tears. I hated that glass box. I hated the night when the water began rising. But I am water now, and it doesn’t scare me.
I’ve broken out of that glass box and carefully cleaned up the pieces. The tide is far behind me, and when it does rise I welcome it, holding my own hand along the way. I can see the painting now: an older girl sitting on the bed, taking deep breaths as tears gently drop onto her clasped hands, telling herself that it’s okay to feel, telling herself that it will pass as the sun warms her skin through the window. She’s grown strong softly, like a river flows after the dam breaks, and she knows how to navigate her currents now.
I am water now, calm and cleansing, flowing with a confidence and hope that will never yield again.