There is a rustling in the forest of my subconscious. Leaves of dreams scatter to the memory-filled earth, resting on a snippet of when I was four and twirling around in a yellow dress before my birthday party. I am happy- all who matter in my small, precious world will be scooping ice cream onto their Styrofoam plates, laughing and singing to me. Grandpa, with his thick, round glasses and cigarette induced, hearty laugh. Andy, my oldest cousin, with the gap-toothed smile and my devotion. Lindsay and Megan, my bestest friends from the square yellow house down on the corner of my street. I hear the chatter spinning through my ears as I continue spinning around the kitchen, counter tops and table blurring together in one brown mass.
It is my birthday in June, and the flowers have woken themselves from the soil to wish me blessings. Mom bustles around, handling the cookies flying from the oven. It’s my birthday, and my eyes are wide as the late afternoon sun gathers through the front window, glistening on my new lavender jelly shoes. The guests will arrive soon, and I press my tiny hands against the front of my dress, wondering what everyone will say when they see the cream fabric when it catches the light.
Through the thicket, a haze lifts, dissolving its pale skin among the air. Shadows soften; life begins to sing through the branches.
Beams of light filter through the flowers, puckering wide the whiteness of morning. Greens, yellows, the sea gray gusts of wind whirl through the woods, and empty this world of the picture playing behind my eyes. My four-year-old self flickers, still swirling, still brightly looking through the window at the sun.
It’s my birthday…
She is translucent, arms and face the glow through the collapsing kitchen. I am waiting for my friends, for my grandpa. The butter dress floats through the waves, pulling out through the forest, now bare branches and broken earth.
My body stirs, feeling the blinds bring in the day. Covers wrap around me, but they cannot hide the quivers of my fingers moving across the dress that now lays on me as a blue t-shirt hidden beneath layers of tangible reality sitting on my bed, staring me in the face.