I will build us a home in Alaska.
Inside you’ll be able to paint flowers anywhere with thick oil colours, the same ones you sketch on your notebook when you cannot focus. They’ll be bright and brilliant and their petals will be strewn across the banisters and countertops, gauzy bodies overlapping like shingles. You can throw them like splatter paint over the walls and carve wispy leaves on window sills. The flowers will be visible and brazenly displayed and not hidden in the corner of your paper.
The outside will be a gentle white. As frozen crystals dive sluggishly from clouds to earth and the land is whipped cream, it will be impossible to see a difference between us and the snow and the expanse of forest beyond. Because we’ll be the same: pristine, radiant.
I rest my head against the frigid window beside my desk and admire the sunlight flow through the glass barrier, onto my paper, making my pen marks shimmer. Lifting one hand into the sunbeams, I watch dust motes swirl around my fingertips. I imagine the specks collecting into ribbons that flutter and sail in the air, wrapping themselves around my hands and forearms. With my eyes closed I can see the vast skylight I’ll build in our home. We can wake up to daylight’s butter yellow glow, it will pour inside like a waterfall of light, and we’ll be swimming in sun.
After I have been distracted too long, the teacher walks to the window and tugs a string, dropping the blinds with a whir and a crash.
The tiles covering the floor will be a dark, deep blue, the colour of a 2 AM sky. None of the furniture will match. The curtains will be made of thick canvas so we can paint them on rainy days. Your green retro bike will sit on the front porch. And anything else you could possibly want, I’ll get it for you.
In the spring I’ll put a chair beneath the trees -aluminum so the rain cannot eat at its metallic frame. Vines will slowly wrap their spindly tendril-hands around its legs; climbing and slithering between the gaps in the seat. Nature will curl through the chair like it’s a trellis and then I’ll sit. And I’ll become part of a mixture of metal, plant, and boy. Not the way a teenager is hidden in a crowded high school hallway, but the way rain joins the sea. Ferns like shaggy dog tails will sway at the base of trees whose trunks are knotted and gnarled with fortitude, blotchy shadows shivering on the ground. I’ll close my eyes, listening to birds whistle. I’ll flex my bare toes against the damp earth and feel roots gradually sprout from my feet, twisting down in the dirt. I’ll connect to the forest and feel it breathe. Synchronize myself with its pulse. Be part of something bigger.
We’ll have a record player in the living room, sitting on an ancient black suitcase. With the needle placed down, I’ll close my eyes and let myself sway to the music. It’ll soothe me, a river of notes over my burning body. We’ll play everything we crave; from Bach to the Rolling Stones. Tom Petty to Britney Spears. Holding you close to me, we’ll dance on the navy floor; spinning with our arms above our heads, stamping our feet, rocking softly side to side with our foreheads pressed together.
I put in my headphones and play my music now, dissolving and floating away with the song, rising upwards in a cloud. The feeling is ethereal and effortless. Absolutely uncontainable.
Then it ends. I desublimate. I slam back into my body with an abrupt jolt similar to the impact of an airplane landing on a runway.
If the music ends at our house, the silence will not sound like emptiness.
I have an inkling that soon, the walls of my hectic mind won’t be able to ignore the erosion from nonstop waves of exhausting thoughts that crash against them. I’ll collapse dramatically on the stained carpet floor of my bedroom, fracturing and bursting apart, flooding water in the licorice-coloured night. I will be a candle melting to wax across a table, a tree cracking in the wind, being undone, being demolished. But not in our Alaskan house, the farthest slice of America from here, where the wild hums. If the tears start to spill from my eyes, you will wipe them away tenderly with your thumb. You will whisper my name (you will know my name). You will look at me, recognize me, and I will be held together.
The porch will be screened in with a fine mesh. I can lay blankets on it and fall asleep listening to the commotion of the night.
Naomi Marko is a high school student in Vancouver, BC. Her writing has been recognized in the Alice Munro Short Story Competition and is forthcoming in Aerie International. When not writing, she can be found reading, playing soccer, or hiking with friends.