Learning to use the blue wings she’s sewn herself

The sky is an angry blue.

And with it, she’s furious at herself.

Livid at the things she’s let slip between her fingers and the things she pushed off until later because she’s slowly running out of time, grasping at straws that evaporate into thin air if she clings too much.

Clings to the memories of her childhood and her hopes for the future.

But, she’s trying.

And she’s having fun while she does it, and once she gets over the obstacle that is feeling as if she’s failed, she is free. 

Soaring above the clouds, relishing in the freedom she’s been gifted and the wings she’s grown.

Wings that she’s grown all by herself—slaved over, cried over, lost sleep over—because she’s been waiting for this moment.

But, what if it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?

What if she trips? What if she stumbles? What if she can’t do this on her own?

What if she slips up and starts calling Missouri home, slowly forgetting about the four grey walls waiting for her here? 

But, it’s time for her to go just as it’s time for birds to leave the nest. She’s spent her whole life preparing for what’s to come, telling herself it’ll be just fine. She’s trying to permanently live on this side of the obstacle, the side where she feels free, but already, she’s slipping, crying for the things she’ll miss next year while excited for the things she’ll do next year. 

What if she trips? What if she stumbles? What if she can’t do this on her own?

Worrying about who will fill the hole in her family while she’s gone, worrying there won’t be space for her when she comes back.

Ripping her wings down the middle only to start again with them, paper-mache staining her hands and acrylic paint staining the carpet underneath her—paintbrushes thrown across the room and tears blotted away by paper towel. 

Living—thriving—in nostalgia, flipping through old photo books circa 2009, looking at a girl who doesn’t exist anymore. Joking with her brother that she isn’t going to miss him next year while bugging him to come visit—craving the simplicity of home.

She’s reconstructing her wings, asking for help from those around her as her friends help her choose a fabric and her mother teaches her to sew. Stitch after stitch, she falls into a rhythmic movement of needle meeting thread.

The wings are blue. Fluorescent and shimmering, but blue nonetheless as they reflect the sunlight from her window and display rainbows across her walls. A reminder of her anger, or her promise to never get to that place again as she prepares to flee the nest, move into a nest of her own—a promise to herself to live on this side of the obstacle, to be free like the clouds that live in the stratosphere.