By: Dora Nicolic
The day the sky split open, a swirl of dust, gases, and atoms suffocated the horizon.
And the sky, well, she inhaled and took in every ounce of the atoms. She was left to expand, and expand, and expand…
The gases who had taken center stage met with the atoms doing pirouette after pirouette around the dust holding on for dear life within the will cramp up and wrestle the pull until they are dragged back in through the cracks of the silence and only sprinkles of their performance remain. And so the particles left of the show will spiral and spiral and spiral until they collide to form a body composed of crushed and shredded little specks of starlight.
And maybe it was my fault. Maybe I tore open the sky. Maybe I cracked open the kaleidoscope.
So maybe I deserve all this pain.
The dust, gases, and atoms had no control over the inevitable collapse of all they lived for.
The violets, canaries, and clementines did not get to decide when and where their show closed.
And I do not choose if love becomes conditional.
This is how I learned to bet on dying stars.
Today is the day your life begins.
I walked out of the church with my knee high socks meeting my suffocator of a skirt. For a sixth grader, you would’ve thought I’d grown taller. I guess being in church for that long made me feel that much smaller. Outside, I was greeted by the melody of successive cars honking at my mother to move our own out of the way.
Just tell her.
Running as fast as my legs could carry me, I reached the door of the Audi, unlocking it and sliding right into place. As if on cue, my mom connected her iPhone to the bluetooth speaker of the car, playing the Up All Night album by One Direction, instantly alleviating my stress, at least slightly.
In between Bleeker Street and Metropolitan, the only sound that could be heard was the muffled verse of “One Thing”, stifled by my thoughts.
But how do I even begin? She’ll hate me. Okay, okay, breathe. Just breathe, remember? It’s fine, everything’s goi-
The car jolted forward under the harsh red light.
And then she spoke.
“Sorry about that! Hey, how was school today?”
How do I even begin? Hey mom, I might be absolutely head over heels in love with Leslie and I don’t know what to do about it but I also don’t want you to hate me for it.
I mean it’s a girl. Can’t you tell it’s always going to be a girl?
You’re probably going to disown me.
And she spoke once more, in her endearing soft tone, echoing my name.
She’s not going to disown you.
Don’t be irrational.
But she could regret me. She could regret everything about me.
And oh god, what would her friends say? A gay daughter, who the hell wants a gay daughter?
She turned around from the driver’s seat and glared about me with her oh so soft hazel eyes.
“Is everything okay?”
No mom, it’s not.
Remember when my great grandfather said, “just please don’t be a lesbian” years ago when I said I never wanted to get married? I was lying, I do want to get married, just not to who you want it to be. And I was lying when I said I was not. And perhaps I’m lying when I say that didn’t make me hate a part of myself. That it didn’t feel like my very essence was being jabbed at, like somehow everything about me was disgusting, an embarrassment.
Would you feel the same way?
I smiled. “Today was okay mom.”
She returned the favor with a smile that made her dimples seem like a moon crater you could drown in and her eyes blaze as if starlight oozed out of them. She always did have a way to make me feel safe.
I’m so sorry.
That was seven years ago.
It is 12:58 a.m. now, and the bathroom tiles I am lying on are freezing my back. I have now spent the majority of my life a walking obsessive, drunk on a singular conversation, one that I will probably never have.
I am turning eighteen in two years.
The numbers have been hanging over my eyes like giant foil balloons that never seem to come down. It’s been that way ever since the car ride.
All around me, everyone is defining eighteen as freedom. College, being away from home, starting our lives. But me? I have never been more terrified in my life. For as long as I can remember, I have been consumed by the concept of adolescence, manifesting itself in me staying up for the majority of the night, just so I can absorb every stable moment as long as possible. In these hours, I have just about lost myself in a maze of questions.
What is going to happen? Why is everything fleeting? How will this performance play out?
What if I end up with a husband I don’t love just to keep my family?
What is wrong with me?
I have tried everything possible.
I have pleaded with a god I do not believe in, silently screaming for nights at a time on these tiles, begging him to change me.
I have cried and shaken and collapsed and prayed enough for several lifetimes.
I have tried to fall in love with a boy. I swear I tried and tried and tried.
Why did the thought repulse me?
Did I not stare at him long enough?
Did I not laugh at his jokes hard enough?
What am I doing wrong?
This is a mistake.
It has to be a mistake.
It is 1:34 a.m. now. “Shit, I haven’t even packed my bag.” But even the attempt to lift my pounding head leaves me hopeless. And so, I stared at the river of starlight traced on the tiles and fell into the deafening silence.
At 5:30 a.m., the phone that had fallen asleep too close to me sprang to life. Luckily, it hadn’t woken anyone but me. In a quick fashion, I jammed my purple, yellow, and orange notebooks that had been left out into my turquoise bag.
I peered at my mother sleeping before stepping out of the door, too terrified to tell her I love her, too shaken to tell her anything at all. The mere thought made my spider veins grow even thinner.
She’s going to hate me when she finds out. All I want is to tell her. She’s everything to me.
In a similar fashion, I could’ve glared at the crimson bricks baking in a bruised sunlight all I wanted, but it would not change what I had already known for so long; one day, this, like the stars, will all collapse.
I stared upwards to meet a swirling cloud. Perhaps the sun will never touch me again.