Waking up is a web I wade through. Its tendrils stick in my hair. I move slowly.
Black coffee in front of me, gallon of milk in my hand. I pour, too late wondering if the little bit left might mean that its post date. Already gone bad. That would be just my luck.
I hold the gallon up to my face and squint in the dim kitchen light. Nope. The expiration date marked on the outside did not pass. It is not today. Or any day all that close. The number doesn't even register as a list of things to do, not the way tomorrow does.
Good. It's not spoiled. This cup is still mine.
I turn the last page. Close the cover. The story is over. That's the end.
But the characters tracked sun spots and mud all over my insides. They left their marks. Glitter drips from my eyes.
I wish I could do that to you.
We're outside. The snow is starting to melt but it's enough to stomp through. Footprints mark the backyard with their comings and goings until its more brown than white.
I'm Harry and you're Hermionie.
I'm a bear.
I'm a wolf.
What are you?
Let's be Shell and Dorothy.
Bumblebee. Baby bird.
They can reinvent themselves at will. Imagination is a new snowfall every time.
We go back inside and their boots shed slush on the rug I just shook out. I hang their snowpants downstairs.
Veins crisscross my belly, blue on white, marking skin stretched
tight and with still more to go. They will shrink and fade very soon. But first I
have to cross over.
When are you due?
Mid March. I don't remember the exact date. Maybe I should write it on my forehead.
I'm leaning over pulling boots onto her feet when I do a double take. I see my hands. But they're my mother's. The veins stand out just like hers. Good veins.
The pattern speaks all about what's under my skin. A map marked before I was born. Mine.