No Pain, No Gain

ROCK has pulled LittleMe to her feet; she complains they feel like lead. He pushes her up a few stairs and taps on the small door that reads, “21”. LittleMe pulls out the small, tattered box marked Santa Fe. Shall we have a look? LittleMe remembers her abilities, her abled body, her dance, her talent and wants to throw it in the fire, the piping hot flames whisper burn, burn, burn them. ROCK taps on her head gently and forces her to remember. What strength in those little legs, the ones that ran up through the #SangredeCristo trails and fled from her past, masked her anguish and gave her courage.

Photo by Raychel Sanner on

She had such drive and focus on healing, yet she still did not know what exactly made her feel she must seek refuge in the wilds of the southwest’s terrain. New air. Air so clean, skies so large and blue, the kind of blue that makes a person wonder what is beyond. Her heart sped through each memory and her body could out run them all; out swim them all, out drink them all, oust them, joust them and yet, never tame them. She thought she was far enough away that she could move forward and not remember. She thought she knew what love was and that it would last beyond the desert sunrise, beyond the discovery of desire and lust. LittleMe looks in the eyes of the person she loved then and perhaps a bit of her will always be grateful for the nudge in her self esteem this human gave her even if it didn’t last. This love said as if all at once when she was shaking, “you are the most beautiful woman everywhere we go; that’s why people stare at you”, then what seemed minutes later but was perhaps some months from then, “my mother doesn’t think you are the kind of woman for me; you will not be as educated as I will be and you could hold me back.” Yes. It’s so. His MOTHER SAID….said LittleMe was not enough. She couldn’t be; she wanted to be, yet she had no inkling how to change into Boston College material or a Vasser girl. Not then. She only knew how to please. It’s as if she had been cursed with promises, all broken ones, and that she had to continue to hide, run and escape the world she found so desperate to beat her. Twenty-one years old LittleMe was having a birthday extravaganza with two bright young women, one became a professor of something and the other who knows. They were the kind that fit the east coast’s mold; they had parents who embellished them to embrace their college years and let them sow their youth whimsically in Santa Fe awhile, parents to support their play time, loved ones who flew out to see them and sent them care packages for fun. They saw LittleMe as one of them. She was not. She was splintered plywood, J.C. Penny’s, the sales rack, the book never checked out from the library and an unfinished year of community college; yet her beauty, her eyes, her perfectly formed body that was encapsulating her grief served as her pass to be part of someone’s life, just for awhile. Someone who was from old money, scholarly, men in suits and ties and enchanting, that is until the lover’s mother said LittleMe was not suitable for engagement. So she ate peyote, did shots of tequila and drank Tecate with the two better young women, the more than she could be types and the lover who needed her to move on wanted her so desperately back that birthday night, to own her flesh again, to make one last toast with Roxy Music in the background and with pools of hot salt water tears rolling down her cheeks, she said no. No. No he could not have her, he could not want her, he could not taste her, feel her or use her laughter or charm for his arm anymore. He compared her to the fragile “Norma Jean” while her very brilliant friends held her long, thick frosted hair away from her face as she vomited up her birthday cake. Twenty one and alone, vulnerable as a newborn giraffe on the African plains, struggling to get up on her wobbly legs before the sprinting prey discovered her smell, she began again. And again. Goodbye Norma Jean still is haunting, not being suitable or enough lingers like sour stomach acid rising into the throat. Her body is weak in it’s structure, soon fifty-nine and beauty is no longer enough. She can’t run from herself now, from anyone or any pain. ROCK snatches this box of time away and knows she is breakable yet ROCK is sure now of one merger that has come with time; her physical pain is so blinding, so smothering that now what is inside her heart and what weakens her sense of self matches perfectly well with her frail bones which holds her NOT ENOUGH memories together.