Then they come. With big blue eyes and flaming red or soft blonde hair. The kind of baby everyone loves and adores. The one that doesn't cause trouble. The only one that sleeps through the night so early, so early that upon waking up in the morning, the mother rushes into the nursery, convinced her baby is dead. But all she finds are two little blue eyes blinking at her in wonder. Two eyes saying "Don't worry, I'm alive!".
She was the kind of baby that keeps everyone young. That holds her father in wonder. The father who doesn't know what he would do without his little girl. How he would get through days of nothing, through days of pain, without her tantrums and little hands and toes.
The little girl who goes shopping with her mother and holds all the toys they can't afford. Asks with little eyes "Can I have this Mommy?" and when denied places it gently back on the shelf without a second glance. The girl who get's her big angry sister's old toys that constantly kept her little friends in fits of jealousy because their mum's and dad's can't find them in any mall or store.
She was the little girl who would swing on swing sets with pink rubber boots and pink and pale blue spring jackets that made swish-swish sounds and made up songs about love that she never really understood. She just knew that someday she wanted someone all to herself. Someone special.
The little girl in pink boots that plucked handfuls of flowers and leaves from the ground. Handfuls of dandelions, violets, bits of the sky and diamonds. Presenting them to her mommy with little smiles of crooked and lose teeth.
The girl who's siblings were jealous. The main subject of every home video. The girl who got things that they didn't. The girl who made sunshine and stole the attention off of school concerts. Dancing on mummy's lap with little wings trying to fly away while the older, angry sister tried to show that she too was important.
She was the teenager who wasn't afraid to be seen in stores with her mum. Who didn't find it embarrassing to be seen without friends or a boyfriend. To be seen with someone who meant something to her.
She was the girl without close friends, who drifted and tried to find someone who was strictly hers. Going through endless groups of people. Making acquaintances of everyone. Sure she was friendly, she'd sit at lunch and eat with you if you were nice to her. But upon seeing that she wasn't number one in your eyes, she'd drift away. An endless search for someone to be hers.
She was the girl who hardly had friends over after school. Made her mum and dad worry, thinking that she was embarrassed. Thinking that she was afraid to have friends over. Thinking she was afraid people wouldn't like her or think her strange to see a her father with tubes coming out of him. Her dad hooked to a machine to keep him alive. Her parents thinking that she was ashamed.
The girl who didn't show anyone her grief. She kept it inside, it was personal to her. She didn't want people's pity, didn't want their false "I'm sorry"-'s and "I understand"-'s. They didn't. She didn't know anyone who had to grow up with a father who was constantly sick. Constantly dieing.
Or sister who teased her until she cried and screamed at her. Screamed until her mouth and throat were on fire. One endless streak of red.
She was the young woman who got her hair chopped off short. She looked like Twiggy. Skinny with long legs, long neck, and long eyes. She chopped off her old life to the base of her neck, started to grow a new one. A new one based on a world with only her mom and brother and sister.
She tried to be angry, tried to be aloof. Tried to look distant with clothes of black and reds and blues and purples. Listened to loud music her once angry sister gave her. Music with angry drums and guitars and swearing. Thought it would make her strong. She didn't know that she was already strong. Her sister did.
Recognized that she was similar to herself. That she was family. That she could lose her and her brother and her mother too some day. The sister who thought that she knew what her sister and brother and mother went through. The sister who missed the dying. The sister who didn't realize.
She missed the father hooking up to a machine at night. Who when he was too weak had the little girl help. She'd make him coffee too, three scoops of classic roast to twelve cups of water. One teaspoon of sugar to a cup with enough milk to make it mocha colored instead of it's dark black brown color. He'd smile at her, the smile not always reaching his eyes. Eyes that were weary. They had never really been the same after his arteries clogged and his heart seized within him. Pain shooting down his arms and the mother rushing him to the emergency room.
Grandma coming in that morning to stay with the little girl. Wondering why the little girl didn't look terrified at the idea of her father in the hospital. The little girl didn't know that it was the beginning. Didn't know what they were getting into. She just accepted things as they came to her. She didn't feel the need to worry. Didn't know that she was going to be the little girl who in three years or so would say to the nurse who told her not to worry, that her father would be alright, would say to her "I know he'll be okay" as she looped brightly colored yarn with a needle. Creating bright colors in the ICU waiting room.
The sister who missed it all. She just saw him laying in the hospital beds. She just saw him a few times a year. Didn't always come for his birthday. Didn't come the night he was dying. She stayed home and got drunk. She didn't know how to take it otherwise. Didn't know that it was the wrong thing to do. Everyone thought he would get better.
The young woman who dressed in black and tried to be angry and sad. She always looked slightly out of place. Always trying to be something she wasn't. Said it was her, that this was how she would be always. She'd always have the two pigtails. She'd always really be like she was when she was little. Full of sunshine. Sunshine instead of darkness.
She'd stay up all night, fueled with caffeine and chatrooms. Talked to little boys older than her, guys from chatrooms. Boys who didn't ask her to take off her shirt on webcam. Muslim boys, boys with long hair and dark eyes, boys who liked her music. Music of fake anger and sadness. Fake boys with long hair and dark eyes. Boys who didn't know the real meaning of things.
She found a group of people, a group of people like a quilt. A woman with cats. A woman who never had love at thirty years old. A girl who had too much love, too much violence, a girl with a little girl growing in her stomach. A two girls from a country where love was free, two girls with hardly anything but music and each other. A boy from a world of sand. A woman who never walked, always confined to a wheel chair. A woman who couldn't have babies, who had one die in her stomach, a little life that shriveled inside of her.
The people told her it was okay to feel. The girl with the little girl inside helped change her, shaped her personality. Dressed her in black with black on black on black. More and more blackness. For the girl with the little girl inside of her had had much blackness in her life. She knew how it was. Knew that beneath all the sunshine in the world, there is a shadow.
The young woman who wore black and listened to angry music changed a bit. She dyed her hair pink and wore it in longer pig tails. Listened to music about love. Music that helped shape her. She stopped wearing so much black, felt that colors made her feel better.
She lost the quilt of people. Lost her own square of dark brown. Gained instead a square of emerald green with pink roses. Started her own quilt instead.
Then suddenly the little girl who was now the young woman, the little girl woman, found a boy. A boy who liked an angry band she used to like. Just one interest that she thought could spawn something great. She cut off her hair again, to the base of her neck. Cutting off the anger and black. She started trying to be like other people though. Started wearing jeans that hugged her bottom. She started wearing low cut tank tops. She started to change. Tried to change, but never lost the pink. The pink shining through the layer of blonde. The bracelets holding her arms together. The now bright colored clothes holding everything together.
The boy with the eyes of the skies, the eyes of cloudy days and patches of blue loved her. He loved her and accepted her for all she was worth. He had been through a lot too. Losing houses and parents breaking. A father who hurt him. Who thought he could abuse his children and they would still love him. A father who was right. A father who the little girl who was now a young woman was always scared of. The father of the boy who didn't hit him anymore. The father of the boy who still looked like he could. And the boy who thought he could understand.