Another Chuck Wendig Flash Fiction challenge. When I read it on Friday morning, I laughed out loud because it was too perfect. My sister and I had an appointment to get tattoos on Friday at noon and she was planning on getting a Phoenix. It’s pretty literal, I suppose, but her tattoo was forefront in my head and the words just sort-of happened. For those that read my blog and don’t like the “bad” words, this one has some, so read at your own risk.
I give you 990 words on the Phoenix – dedicated to my sister and her rather fabulous tattoo.
The buzzing vibration settles onto my leg and I feel the first bite of the needle as it pierces my skin. Inwardly shaking, my body tenses, waiting for the scratching pain that doesn’t disappoint. Taking deep breaths, I close my eyes and settle into the pulsating, jagged rhythm. Strange to think I worked for this small torturous moment, that I deserve it somehow.
I have played so many roles; some of them lovingly, some of them in resentment, pain and fear. They are all different parts of me, and they have defined me and brought me to this moment whether I wanted them to or not.
Dutiful child, so right, so good; never disappointing Daddy. That was, of course, until I finally did. I sit here happily, knowing this moment will piss him off and not giving a fuck.
Religious zealot found roots in dutiful child and blossomed into, what is the term? Goody Two-shoes? Yeah, that was me. Literally killing myself doing the right thing and in turn sharing my beliefs with others. I’m not sure when my spiritual beliefs changed, but they did. Thank you God, or Gods, or Goddess… who even knows?
I was the unharmed one, the one he didn’t touch; watching as everyone else received help and support while I was left to my own devices. That is, until he changed the story and I became just as fucked as the rest. That dizzying moment when you realize… are there even any words to describe that kind of betrayal and loss of innocence? I haven’t found any.
I am a mother, of course, to two kick-ass children. I gave everything in my role as stay-at-home Mom and army wife, playing both Mom and Dad when he was gone. My life revolved around them, day in, day out. Until, one day it dawned on me that they had grown and I didn’t know my role anymore.
I am and have always been a loving wife. To this day, I do not know how we survived. There were the long absences, my doubts and my struggle to find self-worth. I look down at our hands molded together and I squeeze as the needle etches lines into my skin.
I have been through hell and back and the story is taking shape on my thigh, transforming into the beautiful creature that has appeared to me in visions multiple times, almost screaming for her place in my world; a chance to become real. The flow of ink across my skin becomes the line of each individual feather and I trace each one with my eyes, anxiously anticipating the finished masterpiece. I take my time, watching the needle scratch and claw its way across my delicate skin.
The creature flowed into my dreams a few years ago and slowly made her way into my waking moments. She needs life; needs to take shape. As I continue to watch, the vision slowly takes hold again and I see the creature coming to life before me, slowly rising off my leg. I don’t know how it happens, but I begin to know her thoughts as she knows mine and I see what she sees, looking through glistening, cerulean eyes. She wants freedom to glide across the heavens in wild abandon.
Converged, we seek the sky, tracing the path of our inevitable flight into beyond. I lift my arms only to find they are no longer arms. Wings unfurl, feathers shivering with sizzling energy. I glance down for a moment and I gasp in awe, blinded by my vivid, red-gold coloring. I watch my tail feathers sweep the ashes beneath, raising a silvery cloud that billows and swirls around me as I lift off.
I take flight, soaring into the brilliant blue, fluffy white vapor softly caressing my upward journey. I rise up and up and find bliss in weightless recognition. I still play every single role, only now, it’s changed. I’m changed. I may not have chosen all of them, but I now choose how they’re played – in loving acceptance.
I am Daddy’s Daughter. He can choose to embrace me anytime, as long as he chooses me, not the daughter he thinks I should be.
I am Spiritual. Life is a constant journey and I find security in uncertainty, my place firmly cemented in the energetic vibrant universe as it slowly turns, changing and morphing, yet staying altogether the same.
I am Harmed. I realize this will never really go away, but I choose to embrace the parts that were abused and broken knowing there is no safer place in the world than the love surrounding me, healing me daily.
I am Mother. I love and support their growth and change, and they are now supporting and loving mine. I am no longer everything to them and I am learning to accept that they are no longer the driving force in my day to day. They taught me to look for me because they couldn’t be everything to me, not forever.
I am Wife. I know that I don’t need to sacrifice myself to be what he needs. I love him and I find comfort in knowing he loves me still, he loves me anyway, despite and because. He’s my rock, my biggest supporter and best friend.
Blinking my eyes, the vision fades dramatically. There is no soft glazing over and gentle landing. No, I flounder and fall, crashing unceremoniously back into the moment. Feeling my body jerk, I glance down anxiously, expecting wings and feathers and orange brilliance. Instead, I find myself back on the table, my husband’s hand still holding mine. He looks questioningly into my eyes and I smile through the searing heat of the needle still working lines into my skin.
My life’s journey, forever engraved on my thigh. It’s a story and a wish; my promise to myself to always love me because I’m fucking worth it.