She doesn’t know my face or my name but she held me afloat.
Courage comes in many colors but her kind glows in the dark. I gave her my biggest fears and she handed me her dreams, the silly ones that made me laugh when I felt emptied out inside. She walked the line and showed me boundaries but never walls, asking pointy questions that didn’t let me off the hook but asked me to look at my own dreams.
I didn’t set out to write but the words started coming, silver marching along blue lines, pencil perfectly sharpened and worlds invented that filled up my cabin and wrapped arms around me that were real even after I left my desk and went to sleep. For the first time, I wasn’t alone in a space that held only me.
When I’d wanted answers, I got questions, a compassionate cup handed across that only I could fill. But she knew that. I took it with both hands and poured myself into it.
Sometimes I look down and see my reflection there in the dark, struggling to break the surface, and I want to spill it out and start over again. Sometimes I do. But it’s always mine to fill and I hold it with both hands and watch to see who looks back at me when the water is still.
Kristen MacKenzie lives on Vashon Island in a quiet cabin where the shelves are filled with herbs for medicine-making, the floor is open for dancing, and the table faces the ocean, waiting for a writer to pick up the pen. Her work has appeared in Brevity, Rawboned, GALA, Extract(s) Daily Dose of Lit, Maudlin House, Blank Fiction, Cease, Cows; Crack the Spine, Eckleburg, Referential, Bluestockings, NAILED, Knee-Jerk, Minerva Rising, Mondegreen, Prick of the Spindle, Crab Fat, Wilderness House, and Poydras Review and is included monthly in Diversity Rules. Her short story, “Cold Comfort,” placed in Honorable Mention in The Women’s National Book Association’s annual writing contest. You can read more from Kristen here and here.