I believe my isolation began when I was born.
You see, there was never another house behind my backyard
Just vast woods that tapered off into a cemetery
Beyond the tall white fences on either side of me were hollow homes of echo chambers I’d assume
Not that I ever heard the echoes
They bounced around within aching plaster walls
just like those in my own home.
I escaped the endless noise, finding refuge in a plastic home with a red slide and wooden support beams with green swings flying recklessly from the holds.
I would sit on the swing and rock myself back and forth, toes barely grasping the mulch.
My nose pointed down towards the book I clutched in my lap, flipping through pages seamlessly and feeling the weight no longer of my own world, but of these worlds shared with me in my solitude.
I spent all of my young summer days with my body contorted and words constantly shoved in my eyes, rocking back and forth as time passed quickly and grass grew slowly around me.
The sun beating on my neck leaving me sticky without my noticing because I was not of my body in these moments.
A little girl came up around back behind my swing, all the way up to my gate
And she asked me what I was reading.
I looked up, frightened, somehow, by this 5 year old wielding more bravery than I ever had.
My eyes widened and words flipped over each other as they fell out of my mouth.
I then realized it had been a month since I had seen someone other than my immediate family.
And even them, I would only see across the dinner table through dimly lit stares, silent save for the sounds of food unsticking from their mouths.
The solitude I had drowned myself in had become so familiar that it wasn’t until this moment I noticed it was wrong.
My mouth began to find its footing and I tentatively told her all about the story I was reading. All of the magic and creatures and battles.
She then invited me to her own swing set, one composed entirely of wooden beams that lives in the clear of the forest lined behind both of our echo chamber houses.
I took a breath and smiled, wondering if this is what it was like for others.
And if this is what it was like to have a sister
One who has your best interest in heart always
From that point on, I spent my summer days on her swing set, telling her the new stories I read.
Stories that I thought were all my own and that had to remain that way
Were now something shared
I could share
And I could be
And it was learning to navigate the floating to the surface that forced my coming to understand
We remain more than our circumstance always
It drowns us but we are able to learn to float to the top
And that is the key—
That we are able
Ability and realization of such ability allowed me to bridge my own gaps
isolation was not forever and is not forever
isolation was not the home I thought it was
The grass grew upwards around me and lifted my chin
to notice all of the peachy clouds
and to notice
my own vastness
mirrors that of the sky.