blades of green

i hold my breath as i sink to the bottom of the pool. blue water. grey tile. fighting gravity by giving up air. 

i open my eyes, chlorine stinging me a little bit. a good kind of burn. my hair floating up like a mermaid. i am starting to feel dizzy. that inner panicky feeling. of needing something i don't have. it's not just here. i feel it on land, too. 

but instead of swimming up, i stay down. testing the boundaries of my body. lungs aching. head feeling like a balloon. i close my eyes. scrunch them tightly. make a wish. bubbles carrying my prayers up to the surface. 

and then its time to spring. stretching my legs out against the bottom. rough cement against my feet. propelling up through the water with all of my might. head breaking the surface. a great big gasp. i cough, feeling like a new born. fresh out of the womb. 

the air tastes good. a pallet well prepared. deprivation leading to appreciation. separation from what's needed. creating a sense of importance. perspective. 

the light is perfect. soft, like honey. smooth. caressing my face, like a lover. i lay in it. half in half out. the grass rubbing against me. the wind tickling my toes. bathing suit, wet. not having much intention of drying. the temperature is crisp. no longer melting from the hot summer gaze. sun staring down. watching me. bathing me in her rays. beads of sweat dripping. dancing down my body. crevices. seen and unseen. salt. 

a ladybug lands on my stomach. gently making her way across my skin. body as highway. it makes me think of my father. the bug, i mean. he used to call me lovebug. i remember touching them as a little girl. thinking they were good luck and counting their spots. my favorite was watching them fly away. nudging them along with a light blow. not wanting to hurt them. just help them. 

i hear my name called from inside. it feels so far away. yet loud enough to stir me out of my silence. my peaceful moment that smells like chlorine. feels like goosebumps. blades of green tickling my back.

the ladybug is still there. and just as i go to sit up, she is gone. making her way into the evening sky. up up and away. i wonder where she will go. 

my name is called again. each letter entering the atmosphere. carving out a space, like the game you play when you are young. sketching words onto someone's back. 

there is a ringing in my head. the way the sounds are spoken. rolling off a tongue. hot. bitter. i can sense resentment. taste the way he hates me and loves me at the very same time. 

the story of love. our love, anyway. the heaviness of domestication. him, orderly. me, sensitive. imagination running wild. a horse that is locked up. inside a house. that is slowly becoming something other than a home. not my home, anyway. 

i open my eyes and he is standing above me. grimacing look upon his face. a face that says, i'm tired. a glaring raccoon. dark circles. deep secrets. he tells me to get off of the ground. that it is cold. he drops a towel by my side. it is still warm. just out of the dryer. he did it for me. but really, he did it for himself. because this is where he is comfortable. taking care of me. but i never asked for it. i never asked for him to mother me. smother me. with what he thinks is concern. the kind that strangles. sucking out everything that feels good. 

in this moment i long to be the ladybug. free to go. no place to call home. just anywhere or anyone i choose to land upon. no caretaker or hot towels. no name being called out, over and over. leaving a mark as it's spoken. permanence. 

no, in this ladybug life, it is just the night sky. and enough spots to make someone think that i am lucky.

StorytellKenna Conway