Riding the train home at 8 AM, diffused light stings. I squint past my own reflection to a view I love in the morning. But not this morning. The trees and apartment buildings crawl by, my own face a pastel shadow on their facades. Even resting my fingers on my throat hurts. Last night pins me down in the corner seat. It keeps me gasping, rides the whole way home. It stumbles with me to the parking lot. It grips tight, nails deep. I’ve got ice in the tips of my fingers and by the top stair it’s clambered up my spine, knuckles are dragging on my carpet. I can feel its teeth in me. I try to scald it in the shower. How many times have I pressed forehead to tile? Each time I’ve looked in my mirror, naked, and asked myself why this is preferred. Why I’m the wrong girl when I’ve said, No.
It will be there when I say, Yes. It will be there when you find me. It will be there swimming in the Malbec. It will be there in the light of the kitchen when you snake your arm around my back and dance with me like a couple in an old film. It will be there, even when the sun warms the damp grass beneath me. It is a shadow. It is my shadow. My only permanence.
Rowena Taylor is a Canadian writer from Vancouver, BC, where she completed an Arts degree in World Literature and Humanities from Simon Fraser University. She is a continual wanderer.