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Shrinking Shadows

It’s been months.

It’s been months since I’ve looked in the mirror and recognized the shape my soul has taken. It’s been months since I’ve recognized the bed in which I constantly awaken. Almost like I woke up one day and my memory was wiped clean, so now I roam around a place that everyone else calls my home, but feels utterly vacant.

All the clues are there for reinforcement – the sweatshirts hanging are still doused in his cologne, my favourite snacks sit stacked up against the wall, and there are loud balloons sitting by the door that scream “WELCOME HOME”. And yet none of this feels like my own. Like I have mistakenly stepped into someone else’s life, wearing her face and her clothes, and no one else is in on this lie, except for me alone.

For I always believed to be so much more than my roles. I am a proud daughter and I love being a sister – a small part of a large puzzle that thrives when its together. But I believed that regardless of my worldly ties, there was so much more to feed my soul. I fancied myself a writer, weaponizing myself with words that helped me navigate through chaos yet stay totally composed, but after spending months biting my tongue so as to not shake the status quo, it seems as though my fingers no longer remember how to string together alphabets in an effort to self-console. Instead they nervously kiss my keys, afraid to voice the unforbidden and deem myself a villain, until eventually they simply switch tabs and sit me down in front of another mindless show.

With my words caught in my throat and most of my belongings still packed in a container stuck on a boat, taking months to lazily make it to the coast, my feet are anxious for somewhere to go. For the outside is covered in snow that’s pretty to glance at from our large picture-windows but really it’s another blanket disguised in beauty yet waiting to smother and swallow. Instead I sit in the backseat of a car waiting to be driven around, somehow reverting from twenty-four back to five years old. An independent working woman with autonomy and opinions, a schedule of her own, and a partner to call home – she was so scared her emotions would ruin the family’s collective milestones, she began muttering “one day at a time, just wait it out” as a mantra that began as a placebo but its been months since, and its seemingly spun out of her control, for whenever she now looks for her reflection in the family’s rear view mirror, she sees three smiling faces, and a lingering shadow.

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