By Taylor V. Card
One day (which we must all understand to mean many years ago now) a girl in her mother’s kitchen cuts a lock of her shiny hair, sets it in resin, and promises to live forever. When she is ninety-three and dying, she calls grey loved ones into the room to give these instructions:
We’ll need to sing, a song like rolling down a gentle slope with no bottom, to keep me here. I’ll start us off, with a voice that forgives like tree branches cresting a roof, and that heals like a stomach aching from laughter, and that holds us close like I used to take your temperature: forehead to forehead, palms to neck.
Then I will break this resin, which will release my youth: some sound of full, slopping mixing bowls, some swears over scraped palms from ramming my bike into a tree, many questions. We must catch my youth not with grabby hands and snatching teeth – rather, when it flies and zips and darts, herd it toward me with your exhalations, softly, softly.
I’ll breathe in a dark bedroom and a matted, drooly teddy, green knees and dirty cheeks, the tree around me and the ground far below. Don’t worry. Unplug that silly machine. I promise to live forever.
And so, the loved ones follow her instructions.
She breathes in her immortal self, winds un-locked youth around her pinky finger, and goes forward in the song.
Taylor V. Card is a fiction writer from Metro-Detroit, Michigan. She graduated with an MFA in fiction writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Taylor has been published in the Button Eye Review, See Spot Run and the Pine River Anthology. Her writing reflects her fascination with the natural world and a mystical connection to childhood.
Photo by Steve Johnson on Pexels.com.