You’ve got a calendar on your bedroom wall, with pictures of dragons belching flames over unfortunate kingdoms. On your living room wall is wolf decor with feathers hanging songlike from its sides. The art fills me with envy, as do the pictures of you small and smiling on the hallway wall. The mystery around you is intriguing and I wish my hair was brown like yours and I wish I had the same art inside me as you do, that art that matches the dragons on your bedroom wall. Sometimes I think fantasy is more real than the still-frame picture images on my wall calendar. The scenes of streams and does and wild horses in a changing world where none of them will last. Sometimes the things I think of seem so real, like leprechauns really did live under the storm grate at our school, in a cozy little hole with a warm fire and tiny shoes beside it.
Sometimes I think the fairies are beneath the bark of that broad cottonwood tree, with the ladybugs who climb out in the spring for curious schoolchildren to destroy. Once I left my Blue Jay toy named Rocket in that tree and I grieved until someone found him and gave him to the ground duty. Another time I left my ladybug shoes out around the school too. Now the whole school is torn down and nothing but dusty earth where all my memories were clustered. Looking at it brings me pain. The destroying dragons in your calendar may as well be real, because all the world is in flames and there is destruction and terror and death.
The little home I lived in when my first two kids were tiny is torn down too. All the places that I loved and grew and felt alive. Someday the house I’m in now will be torn down as well. I don’t want to be alive to see it, though I know the dragons will consume everything someday. All my places, all my people, all the poetry I read and all the dreams I dreamed. I thought that you’d grow up and live in New York City. I thought you’d be an artist and an actress and writer. You had dreams bigger than mine and I knew you could achieve them, but the dragons have flown low and sighed out heat and rage and angry flames and I don’t know if either us can escape it. The little animals burrow deeper into the rocky soil while the earth above them burns. Maybe we should burrow down too. Is there any other way we can escape?
When there were parent-teacher conferences the elementary school gym would be open for all the siblings to play in. My mom and Joy would be there and watch the kids and I would go there too. I remember tall kids playing basketball and little children from the ward and I remember racist comments towards the half-Mexican kids whose dad has an accent and whose parents did’t go to church. I was happy and content in all my privilege. I hate myself for that. Maybe I should let the dragons burn it all down. There isn’t much worth saving.
I remember my backyard neighbor and jumping on her trampoline with her older brothers in the summer twilight and I hate her because her mother loved her then and still loves her now. I hate her because her mom is her best friend and my mom will never love me anymore.