to @DaHob’s prompt
I do not remember being born. Do you?
I don’t really remember waking up, either, that is, being aware of myself for the first time. Knowing where my “fingers” were, where my edges were. When something hurt me.
That, that is what I remember first and strongest. I remember being hurt. I remember being damaged. The pain shooting through my nerves, making me recoil backwards.
They called it an accidental fire. They almost always do. They can’t fathom, I think, that when I am hurt I must react. And when I am damaged, I have little way to fight back. Earthquakes hurt me as much as they hurt them. But a little fire, a spark here, a twist of a wire…
… I learned the hard way to be careful which portion of my body I set on fire. In some neighborhoods, the people who fill me would come quickly. In others, the hurt would spread, would threaten to damage my core before it was contained.
But I was saying. I don’t remember being born, or my first awakening, but I do remember when I realized that I existed.
Before then, I think there had been vague thoughts, memories and dreams, but nothing, pardon the pun, concrete. Nothing to say “all these things, they are all me.”
But the night where the monsters ran through my streets, killing my people, killing people just because they were different, the night that they streaked my sidewalks with blood, I remember that. I remember that like you’d remember someone jabbing a knife through your hand as a child.
And the day they cleared out the park on Main and South, and erected that statue to the lovely woman who stood up to the thugs, that day, the sun warming my pavement and the cheers echoing across my buildings… that is the day I remember learning what love was.
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