Lost and Found
I don’t remember time before the tunnel. We pocketed shards of light and scurried for food. We learned the language of gloom and made silence our second nature. You were the crazy one. “I’m saving myself for him,” you gushed reverently. I’d catch you among flickers, panting, your delicate arms dancing. I was afraid of you so I stayed away from corners that moaned. In your vibrant dreams, a giggling crowd threw rose petals at a stage. The man next to you kissing your cheek, smiling bright. You awoke to religion, convinced that you would marry the sun. I didn’t believe in saviors.
We were five shadows once. Part of the dank walls that crept for miles. We threw plumes of smoke like shurikens and drop-kicked each other. Stealth mode was my forte; the downside was being designated hunter. “It’s a new kind of rat.” Overcome by anger, I’d mixed in sludge. No one knew the difference. Everybody had a signature look. Mine was a bandana given to me by Master Shan. He’d taught me everything I knew. On my darkest days, his sickly voice haunted me. During one such daze, you revealed, “I’ve been having weird dreams.” We became four shadows.
You were my diamond in the rough and I had vowed to be your protector. Nothing mattered except the world we built. Everything you did was beyond reproach, even your month long absences. “You can call me Meera, if you want,” she’d whispered across my chest before unzipping me. There were always others but you knew that. The tan lines gave you away before your swollen belly. I waited for you to push out the child that I would never call my own. With your last breath, you thrust your bandana at me as I watched your tan lines turn red.