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I think it's possible that someday, you'll find me deep in the forest, stepping enthusiastically over broken twigs and roots that dig their way out from the dirt.

There might be shades of brittle red leaves swirling around me and catching in my hair, in the curls that are knotted from the wind.

You'll probably hear my paced breathing and notice my subtle smile as I drink in the autumn air.

I'll be searching for abandoned buildings, hungry for the remains of lives lived before me.

My cheeks will be flushed with excitement.

Maybe instead, you'll learn of me somewhere tropical.

I'll be leaping into the ocean, shattering the layer of still blue glass on top.

There will be giggles rising with bubbles from the ocean floor, where I'm studying all of the marine life.

When the sun begins to set, painting the ocean a deep orange, I'll fall into bed, skin soft and warm from the shower where I washed off the last bits of sand.

You could even notice me by the back of my head, hair braided and pinned, adorned with a simple ribbon.

I'll be hopping on a train home from Paris, eager to be back in the countryside.

You'll probably notice my brows furrowed as I hyper focus on the journal in front of me.

Eventually, I'll give up on writing and tip my head back. You'll watch the phases of sun pass over my skin, while I face the window, lost in a world of possibilities.

Maybe instead you'll find me in the local supermarket, browsing the fresh produce and seeds.

I'll be wandering from aisle to aisle with a plump, rounded belly that I glance down at and gently rub. You may even catch me whispering love into my stomach, hoping it will get through to what's growing inside.

I'll probably notice the time, and become eager to get home so that I can work in my garden before the sun sets, so you'll see me last as I load the groceries into the back of my car and glance up at the sky.

More likely, you'll see me trying desperately to disappear into the faces in a crowded crosswalk. I'll keep my head down, and most people will think that the confidence that I wear my formal clothing with is genuine; they may even dodge me as I approach them on the sidewalk. You won't sidestep, though. You will instead recognize the laughter bubbling on my lips underneath the polished exterior. You'll notice the shadow emphasizing the dimple on my cheek when I brush past you so briefly.

I hold onto the hope that these vignettes could come true the way that ocean waves cling to the shoreline. You could find me in all of these lives, and maybe in one of these, I'll actually be whole.

Until then, you'll almost certainly find me nestled under the linens on my bed, using the cocoon to disguise the daylight leaking in through the windows. If it's dinner time, you'll find me doubled over on the stool sitting with the plate in front of me, counting the casualties of another silent battle lost. Whenever I eventually scrape the food into the trash, or bite through the skin on my lip and draw blood, or grip the insides of my wrist with all of my strength, or use my nails to scratch the liquid off of my cheeks leaving welts behind, I'll think of these vignettes and think of a lifetime where you'd find me in any one of them instead of this one.

For now, when the sun seeps in through the window panes, fragmented by dark shadows, it will drench my porcelain fair skin. It will illuminate the cracks and fractures. You'll notice the chips, where tiny splits are just beginning to form. You'll also see the gaping holes that swallow the sunlight. The light will emphasize the areas of fading color. The light will emphasize my darkness.



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