These are not just words. They’re a story. My story. It’s a story I can’t tell in my mother’s house, which is where it all started.  And that is my deepest wound.

This is not just a story. It’s a recurring nightmare, but I keep waking to discover it’s real. And every time, I sit up with myself in bed.  I rub my own back until the shaking stops.

The words make a time machine, pulling me back to my wildest and most wounded self. My loneliness is a love magnet. My older selves gather around the gritty core: layer upon layer of screams, polished smooth.

I look up from writing, and I see the pearl of the full moon held for a moment in the branches of a tree. It slides out of the birch’s embrace and ducks behind the hill. Only the empty sky remains, thin and cool and orange.

But the moon is still there, and it belongs to everyone.  It’s the force behind the tides, the thing that moves the oceans. The oceans, where all our tears begin and end.

“Don’t forget me,” she whispers.

As if I ever could.