Prompt #1: I was born white, pristine, perfect. Then I grew older and learned how to run and swim. I jumped off cliffs and pedestals and ruined my skin with cuts and bruises and burns and tattoos. When my mother screamed at me again the other day I could see in her eyes that she would never forgive me for taking away the porcelain child she had and replacing it with this brown and broken body. But I’m not entirely sorry because on good days I see gold when I look in the mirror.
Prompt #2: When I was five, I noticed a black heart embedded into the wood of the bannister. Every few weeks since then, I would check to see if it was still there. I knew it wasn’t going anywhere, I just wanted to be sure.
The hours I spent wondering where it came from and the theories I came up with are countless. A fairy put it there to protect me. It was a sign of love between a star-crossed two who painted the heart in blood before running away together. I sleepwalked and put it there myself.
I’m not five anymore and we’ve long since left, but I remember that heart like a landmark when I’m afraid I’m getting lost or something to humble me when there is something I cannot know. Because at twenty, when the world seems like an oyster, there are still countless things I cannot know.
Prompt #3: My mother’s father came to me in a dream one night. I had been napping when I woke up leaning against a pew in a candlelit church and he was beside me. I don’t remember what he said except for his trademark, “Oh, hija.” And in that moment, I felt so much peace.
I was his favorite and he would write me letters and call me every Sunday, always managing to establish contact no matter where I was or what I was doing. When he passed, it was something I knew I’d miss. But when I heard his voice again when I thought I would never, every foundation of my adamant disbelief in Heaven creaked in elation. From then on, I knew Heaven was watching me.
Prompt #4: My dad’s favorite word is “prudence”. My favorite is word is “wild”. But my favorite person is dad.