I am indifferent to ropes

Lynlee Derrick

More stories from Lynlee Derrick

Emma Zawacki
March 15, 2021
Linus Kaechele
February 17, 2021

My first scream in the world was caused by it—that rope entangled around my petite physique. I was so young; newly brought into the world, my slight size effortlessly emulated an admired, delicate doll.

It was that scream—powerful yet feeble in every definition of the ruined word—that abstractedly instituted a Herculean hold around my infant build. That night, the one where my first breath was taken, the one where colors painted the universe all at once, I was showered in the stars. Through the window, they glistened as if they were winking. Friends, I thought.

But my mind was oh-so-little, and it couldn’t grasp malevolence yet as purity still rang true in my untouched world. I was unable to comprehend what exactly they winked at, for it wasn’t me.

Instead, they winked at the possession growing around me, encircling me. But, my eyes remained closed to it all as my body shook with shivers, adjusting to the world I had just hesitantly encountered. It was that night that the rope tied around me; it was that night that the moon betrayed me, casting a shadow over the rope, hiding the truth from me like it was a game.

From that momentous day—my beginning in this world—I’ve been trapped within that pregnable game, whether I’ve wanted it or not.

I didn’t realize that at first.

I didn’t realize that the sleazily smothering rope grew around my waist, for each night the moon betrayed me over and over again as it allowed for the rope to further tether itself to my being. As I grew from birth, still tiny, it remained there. A silent assassin, it slowly sailed in slight shadows.

Keeping me close, the rope rooted me to my place; I could never wander too far, never let my mind run through the flowered hills too long, never leap too high as if the rope wanted to protect the mighty macrocosms married in the sky from my infinitesimal touch. Even though my childhood wishes were to be an astronaut or the princess of those macrocosms I was destined to reach, a funereal fraction of me always impugned my desires.

They are too grand, that part of me whispered into my malleable child brain, marring my mystical daydreams. Too anomalous for a mere girl like you, they would continue.

I believed these whispers; they came from me—my very own mind.

All these whispers perilously planted the venom in my veins. At such a carefree, simple age, I learned the deafening doubt that would soon become my only friend in the world. I trusted it, too, and that’s the most flagitious fact of it all.

I trusted my own words, ones I swore to myself, because as a child, I couldn’t see past the mask. I couldn’t see that it wasn’t me truly twisting those whispers into my mind. I couldn’t see the rope tightening around myself.

Too anomalous for a mere girl like you, they would continue.”

As the years drifted by, so did those showers of stars I had met years ago. The stars came up every night, and the moon faithfully followed, allowing that rope to woefully remain.

By the time my childhood years stood behind me, I could feel the no-longer-hidden rope. Every restriction from it—every time it held me back—there was an undeniable pain. It wanted me to know it was there.

I knew I was stuck, stranded almost, and that was part of its game.

Doubts that surfaced demanded to be questioned. Were they coming from me? Or were they a product of the suffocating sanctions of that cursed twine tied around me? Everything that fell in and out of my life had to be painfully reexamined, consuming my time and energy.

I’ve been left shattered and demoralized by the grip around me, restricting my growth in the world.

Even now, as I frightfully fight at the knot, claw at it to fall apart, I feel a contradictory attachment to this rope. I have been entrapped within its grasp for so long.

If I manage to loosen it, to crawl out of it, I have no excuses. I’ve been grounded for long; I’ve been defeated for too many years.

Who am I without it?