Sunrise Sunset

by brownybean

She is thirteen and electric, a live wire sparking against concrete.  Her tongue unfurls around the hard stone of a curse word, and though she is catching fire so quickly it is hard to tell what is still pink skin and what has charred, the heat is not yet burning your fingers wrapped tightly in a circle around her wrist.  Five years ago, you were driving her to ballet lessons on Monday and Wednesday nights; you were bandaging her blistered toes. Overnight, her breasts have inflated, the ball of her belly has migrated north and south, spreading her hips apart like scissors.  Nothing about her is the same.  You have turned your head and blinked at the wrong second, and today, you recognize her only by her shadow; her eyes have shaded with understanding.  Today, sitting across the table from her, watching her, you are afraid for the first time.  You can see that the path she will follow will be scattered with darkened moons and heartaches.  That there will be ditches into which she will climb, lay down, and wait to die.  She will be fierce, yes, and unexpected, but for the next couple of years, she will also be a stranger that you will know like you know the beating of your heart, butterfly in your ribs, and you will turn her over in your fingers like a coin, searching for a seam.

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