When You Were Young


When you were young, you would strip down the curtains so that the sun could stream in, unhindered, and you curled up on the ground, asleep and unaware. And you would try and crawl up walls like a spider and drink the way dogs do. You howled at the moon and clawed at the sky, and I remember how you used to ride on those rolls of thunder, and there's not a day that goes by that I don't regret not letting you teach me how.

When you were young you made castles in the dirt, and you believed in faeries, and you captured one and it made you cry. Then you believed in vampires and only ever ate blood oranges and painted your lips deep red with lipstick. You read Anne Rice and became a Child of the Night – you fell in love with darkness and dramatics.

You used to decorate your cakes with dying rose petals and sprinkle your cookies with thorns, until you choked on your imagination. Afterwards, you wouldn't let go of my hand for weeks; my finger stayed enveloped in all of yours. And you kissed my nose and looked at me with adoration because you were my child. Then you said "mommy" and my eyes swelled with tears and my mouth swelled with a smile.

There were times when you would whisper quietly to yourself and when I asked who you were talking to, you told me "God". You said that he was wise and wonderful and funny, but you refused to tell me what he said. Sometimes you'd touch the air where you said our angels were and it would spin iridescent, just for a moment, and I watched the reflection of divinity in your saucer eyes.

When you were young, you were beautiful and dangerous and magical. You did things so magnificently, and when you opened your mouth, it was with effortless eloquence that you spoke. You were innocent yet knowing, the darkest shade of gold. Simple and loving and capable of climbing mountains with just your mind. You were strong and delicate, and I knew when I held you to my heart, I knew you were oh, so special.

And I loved you once, when you were my child – young, trusting, soft in my arms, and amazing in every way.