By Mia Altamuro
The first time I met someone who didn’t want to kill me, I had thrown my life away and gone into urban wilderness. It was somewhere in nowhere, after I had taken one last look at the ocean I loved so much. It was a journey where I hoped to land on myself.
Sometimes I close my eyes and can see the memories that are so far away, too much for me to reach, but instead can feel in bouts of sadness. I can hear the waves of a sapphire ocean, moving in and out, over the crystal white sand. I had seen these beaches for so long, with a turquoise sky and a golden sun, now a girl of sixteen, and the same picture comes to me each and every time. A baby girl wrapped in rags, like roadkill who is still breathing. She is garbage amidst this beautiful scene. That baby was me.
Now, I exist mostly in stories. When the storm clouds come, and cover the beaches with a shade of cold, I can feel the rhythm of my heart, and suddenly I’m there with an earlier version of myself. A girl with no name, and with nothing except the blanket she was left in, old and worn. A girl who could’ve died if she had been left there for one hour more. A girl who is crying, wailing out for something living in the distance, only to find empty hands, passed from one to the next.
I’ve been trying to run away from this place since the day I was born. Trying to belong somewhere, trying to find love. Today, I will run away entirely. It will be like cleaning up a wound and finally closing it, to be away. Now, when I look out to the ocean, I am looking out into forever.
Asking myself the questions; what is family? What is community? I have been looking for it all of my life, and soon I’ll find out.
It was through this that I met her, the one who didn’t want to kill me, the first who ever did. It began somewhere in the alleyways, behind brick walls covered with moss and dirt. It was the place of shadows that existed outside of society: where the scum lived. With regret I realized that’s where I fit in. So I tucked myself in the concrete, and hoped that I would still be alive when I woke up.
That was when I had the dream; the stars had aligned and formed a dragon. A thin, white wisp of crystal fog who came into my head like rain. I felt as if I was drifting in a cloud, and I was given a vision of what things could be. It was our world, but better; it was mystical and deep, the buildings written in every color and reaching the edge of the sky, and fields of wheat that took me to gardens full of wildflowers.
The people there were magical, they could conjure dreams from their fingertips. And they were all in harmony.
How could something that was just a dream bring so much out of me? My thoughts turned to tears, and I had wept when I woke up. That next day is when the rest of my life had started, just as the darkness of my misery had peaked, I faced the dawn of a new hope.
It’s when I learned that it wasn’t a dream, the world I had created. I met a girl, her name was Emerald. She was called that because of her deep green eyes. She had long brown hair and skin like hazelnut, and to me, she was a diamond in the rough. She asked who I was, and she was the one who took me far away.
The first night I had a warm meal, while hearing the laughter of those who I would come to love around me, it was in a run down house, where we had forged a family out of impossible odds. I had slept on a thin mattress, but was as rich as a king.