Hide and Seek
He is raising his hands to cover his face, fingers interlaced to shield his eyes from the light. We are going to play a game. We scatter ourselves helter-skelter in every direction. I want to win. I want to hide somewhere they will never find me. I need somewhere new. Not inside a hut, not beneath a bed, not behind a door. More like under skin.
100, 99, 98…
I remember playing in the woods when I was younger and having a river of blood cascading from my toe, but not telling anyone because I wanted to keep exploring. Now I was Sacagawea, I was passing through the brush near the river on a quest for berries. I was a Shoshone guide, a vagabond spirit, carving paths with my own footsteps. That's where the journey started; I've been hiding inside other people's bodies ever since, feeling their experiences, capturing their memories, living their lives as if they were my own.
76, 75, 74…
I remember there was this beautiful jewelry store, downtown on Main Street. Every day, couples would leap from the revolving door glowing with radiance exuding from their faces. I wanted to know what happened in that magical two story brick building, so I slipped inside the jeweler's mind, and I wandered through his thoughts as he helped a young mind find a perfect combination of clarity, color, carat, and cut. Now I was helping this man, so full of hope, as I felt my heart sinking, remembering the day I came home to a ring on the table. Each morning I fell in love with every couple I met; each evening I fell out of love with the woman in my bed until there was no one to fall out of love with. I carry on each day, wanting to give meaning to their lives, but each day I am a little less convinced I am doing what is right and I am a little more certain I should be somewhere else.
51, 49, 48…
I remember the names of everyone in my kindergarten class. Everyone except for the girl with auburn curls who sat at the table with Max, Sophie, Cecile, and I. I can't remember her name because I never heard her say it, but I want to know, so I slide under her skin. Now each day I come to class and melt in my chair, the lower I sit, the safer I feel. I want to ask the boy in front if he would like to share the cookie in my lunch box. I would like to ask them to come to my birthday this weekend. I don't. I turn my head away from the things I want. Instead, I smile at the table as my hair masks my face. I am Grace.
23, 22, 21…
I remember wondering why magazine covers more often feature people who are successful. Acclaimed actors, successful billionaires, and innovational geniuses decorate the magazines in the impulse aisles of my hometown grocery store, but where are the other faces? Why don't we see relatives, strangers, or criminals? I wanted to know what it would be like to be successful, so I hid in Dmitry Rybolovlev. Now I am worth billions of dollars, I chair the board of Uralkali, I am the god of potassium fertilizers, and I emanate success. Never mind that my wife has filed for divorce. Never mind that she is taking the houses and paintings and my wealth along with her. Never mind that I may die alone. I am a perfect candidate for a magazine cover.
3, 2, 1…
I remember all of these lives that I am not living, they define me, shaping me to a mold of misfits, with an outline of adventure, loss, and success. But now I am in the present, the countdown has finally stopped. Where am I?
I am sitting across from a boy on a rock with my back to the ocean, my face to a pair of lips ripe and begging. I could lean forward, I could melt my pink lips into his, and I could live here in the present. But I don't do it. I want to keep exploring.
100, 99, 98…
Creative Writing and American Ethnic Studies at Willamette University. She enjoys biking, reading, and pears. This is her
first published piece. Her other writings and musings can be found here