Her legs noiselessly fall into lotus upon the bare linen sheets, her weight forming valleys and gorges running all along the soft lunar face of the bed towards the unyielding focal point of her gravitas. Supple fingers hover and twinge over myriad tableaux that she has spread about her, bisecting the valleys and gorges, now one might call train tracks from one metro station of memories to another, or perhaps roots pulling nutrients into her trunk. She hails each photograph with her touch, her breath hitching as she pushes the ridges of her fingertips into a glossy sweater, or a pair of sunglasses, or a cheek. She is beauty at the center of a kaleidoscope, bending and refracting herself through hidden filters, endlessly manufacturing the most appealing renditions of mundane, purposeless artifacts.
"Brian. Look at these."
And I do. Gingerly, I sit one leg along the side of the bed so as not to unsettle the memory quilt she crafted herself into. I always had a talent for not displacing her.
"Look at how we were."
And I do. I see a little girl in a nylon windbreaker, her joy as wild as the black wires exploding from her scrunchie. Often, she is in the arms of our father, his face and body springing towards her with the elasticity of rigorous, kinetic love.
I know what I will see when I see myself, but I look anyway. I see it right away, even behind the eyes of this little boy who hardly looks old enough to walk: a hulking emptiness--a resignation to the void. In the photos, our father's face and body recoil from the darkness. He is ashamed to have spawned such a thing.
I put it to her simply. "I'm not happy in any of these."
"I know...but...you're such a wonderful, beautiful person, and this is a part of you, so these are precious to me."
"...come here. Let's practice for tomorrow."
"Oh, okay! Let me put on my dance shoes."
I bring her to me, and in our dance of duality, I ground her.
Tomorrow, at our cousin's wedding, I will dance on my own, a righteous healing dance that will astound my father's family. I will not be a kaleidoscope. I will not be filtered. I will be the wind meeting the ground, articulations gyrating around a darkness that illuminates the cosmos.