Around me was a line of bottles left empty and unattended in a dry field. Tones of brown were all that lay in my peripheral. Suddenly the ground began to slowly rumble and one of the bottles fell over and smashed into colorful pieces. As a result of this shaking, an unexpected deep aggression fueled my feelings and gave me an idea. One by one I began kicking the rest of the bottles and watched them create sparkly confetti of glass all around me. As the bottles disappeared into pieces with the force of my foot, I noticed that more kept appearing.
Before I knew it I was surrounded by hundreds of unbroken bottles. They seemed to grow larger as they replicated and it took me some time to realize that it was not the bottles that were growing larger, but that I seemed to be shrinking in the presence of their rapid accumulation.
My anger grew as I felt smothered by their presence, as they seemed to glitter iridescent fractions of light from the sun above glaring brighter and brighter. The light reflecting off the bottles began to blind the corners of my eyes and this in turn made my anger expand, like a balloon on the verge of exploding.
And so it was then that I let my inhibitions go and aggressively kicked the bottles over and over around me, making sure they disintegrated into nothing. Their broken pieces lay littered on the ground and it was the warm sensation on the bottom of my feet that made me realize I no longer wore any shoes. The dark and deep velvety red flowed around the contours of my feet and seemed to simultaneously warm my nerves and fuel my emotions with an indescribable energy. I did not seem to feel pain in this moment, but only the perpetual anger that instigated my outrage. I let myself keep kicking with every ounce of energy left inside of me until the bottles seemed to all but vanish and I was left kicking thin air.
It was then that the sky opened wide and rained shards of glass and my skin was bombarded with bloody gashes from the speed at which they came crashing down with such force. My body grew hot and sticky and in a panic I did the only thing that came to mind: I ran.
I ran and ran through the rain of falling shards of glass until I could not breath and I collapsed onto a bed of soft feathers in a forest thicket just ahead of me. It felt like days before I awoke again and when I looked down at my hands they were smaller than I had remembered. I was drenched in the deep red of dried blood and sought out a pool of water to clean myself with.
To my surprise a small river glistened in the distance like a mirage and I walked towards it with hesitation, afraid it might disappear into the ether. When I arrived at its edge, I peered into the green-blue, unaware of what I might see next. It was then that I saw myself unlike I had in years since. Laying before me in a rippling reflection was the image of my former self as a young child. I must have been only five or six years old, and the innocence in my eyes was the most piercing sight of all. I could not recognize where this little girl had gone to, when all I felt in that moment was still the lingering outrage that brought me to this point. Sounds of parrots echoed in the distance, speaking faint words I thought I understood.
“Hello, Goodbye.” They seemed to say on repeat, in succession.
The sound overlapped with the wind that picked up speed and blew colorful feathers around me. I looked at my former self in the shallow water and watched her face begin to morph. Smeared in blood, my cheeks grew larger. Dripping sweat, my nose and forehead widened until I saw myself again as something I had not been in ages. My adolescent eyes peered back at me and I remembered what it was like to find comfort in the prospect of new love; love of another, love of adventure, love of potential. The curiosity for life began to pump into my veins again as I sat longing to recapture this form of my youth. I wanted to hold onto the hope that came with a future. Where had that sensation gone to, when time had merely turned me angry, kicking bottles in an open field, no horizon ahead to guide me out.
I did not want this feeling to leave so I dove head first into the shallow pool. Beneath the surface of the water I saw a blurry world I had never visited before. I let myself stay suspended in the bubbles of my own breath. I closed my eyes and wished for this moment to never end. But wishes are like rainstorms, coming and going, and the mirages that enveloped in this world sucked the water around me away and it was not long before I was left sitting in a dry riverbed.
I looked down at my hands again and saw that they were covered in wrinkles. I took my hands to my face to feel my skin, and there too were layers of newly formed wrinkles. I had grown old and dried up like the riverbed I sat stuck in. The innocence and hope and anger all mixed inside of me turned to something more like a cool breeze. I was calm and waiting for the vapid vastness I felt lay ahead of me. In that moment I just let myself take it all in, one breath at a time. Deep breathes in. Deep breathes out. And there I sat until the sun vanished and the stars took to the sky, like dancing memories I wanted to get lost in.
Michelle Lee Proksell