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Enrique Zavala
03-21-2018, 05:58 PM
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stories of sin and shame from
anyone but your hero

Enrique Zavala
03-21-2018, 06:00 PM
☆ with your head on backwards

Listen, I love you.

I値l bring you fifty-two flowers today, speckled with stars straight from the cosmos. Hibiscus and poinsettia. You値l hold the latter flower up to my head, eyes huge, asking me if this is the rebellious phase you both feared I壇 go through. I値l yank the biggest petal off, smiling at you, crushing the velvet piece under thumb and index. You値l laugh, and I値l laugh, and the little petal bits will meld together in the wind like two halves of a broken heart. They値l keep flying on your endless day, straight towards the sun you cherished. I知 not as bad as Em, I swear! I think you secretly like this color! And we値l break out into a fit of unstoppable laughter at the absurdity of our mix-matched hair colors.

鉄tand down! my voice shouts from somewhere beyond me. Big and barren. The culprit sprints away, the screams of two young men torn from their skulls. Fading behind, seeping into the secrets this vessel carries, bears witness to. I too am responsible for carrying your burdens, your hopes, your fears. My legs propel me faster, pushing the world beneath me in lift off. Your perpetrator darts onwards, from a crowd of innocents in pretty penny to a wall of traffic. My mind, a haze of wrongs and maybe half-rights, seizes the road racer off the hands of a nearby kid. My spine is a part of the steel as we bolt forward into a swarm of cars gunning eighty miles per hour.

Then you値l stand up, ma, and announce that you値l cook dinner now. On your own birthday, too - you池e formal and superstitious, and when it痴 my birthday, you never let me cook for you! Regardless, I値l grumble and follow you on the cold tiles to the kitchen. You pratter on, about venturing out to buy new seasonings or the latest sales. I知 listening but not, and I知 sorry for that too. Idly leaning into the sounds and sights of dogs chasing themselves out the kitchen痴 window, tails whipping fast, tongues lashing. You set the mixing bowl in front of me. Nuzzle the red hair, kiss me on my temples, and thank me.

For what?

My heart痴 a bomb counting down in my ribcage. Exhaust and smoke choke me with unseen hands, another one pressed firmly onto my chest. The villain - that screech and smudge of black against the horizon - guns for one-twenty on the highway. Here I am in a road racer, clutching the bottom handles, shifting gears, pumping more energy into my legs than I thought possible. There痴 a fuel that spreads through me. The bug痴 at the engine, pumping animosity and self-loathing and a third thing through my veins. You know me better than anyone now. These tires melt into the pavement. I will catch you. I will show you.

It痴 my job to protect and love you, mom. I知 sure I致e fucked up these proportions already - you致e put down the ingredients for my favorite meal right in front of me, and I can稚 recall any of their names. The shapes blur away slowly. Packages and cylinders slipping out my grasp, blending into the same sludge dripping into the asphalt. There was once my body, mangled and thrashed, lying there too. A fist slams down on my thigh, willing me to go faster and faster. The memories are me down there, blended, broken beyond repair.

The culprit痴 closer than he痴 ever been.

Happy birthday, Mom.