Luz had risen to the top of the lake of her living. The rising had happened as naturally as pollen that will not remain submerged. It surprised her, as she did not know that she was pollen.
Most of her life, she had been shrinking. So unwanted had she been that she had done most of her living as if she had never been born. Living that way would make her loveable, she thought.
At her mother’s house, she looked too much like her father; and at her father’s house, she looked too much like her mother. Luz looked so much like her parents’ failure to love what had come from their mistake that they told her that she should never have been born.
She was just too sensitive, said her father. Life was hard, and it would have been better for Luz if she had never been born. On the surface of life where Luz was a smart girl, she knew he was wrong, but it did not feel that way, so she told herself that if she showed her father that she was tougher than he was, he would change and love his daughter.
She should have been aborted, said her mother, because she had ruined her mother’s life. On the surface of life where Luz was a smart girl, she knew that her mother was wrong, but it did not feel that way, so she told herself that if she showed her mother that she was loving, she would change and love her daughter.
It did not work; they did not change.
“I should not have been born,” thought Luz, “so I would not have had to not be loved.”
At sixteen, Luz did not try to commit suicide. Her body naturally shut down. It was a kind of paralysis that neither the primary care physician nor the emergency doctor who performed exploratory surgery via an incision through her bellybutton could understand.
Luz awoke from anesthesia, but when the mother, the father and his new wife fought vociferously over who loved her best, she left without anybody noticing. She was no longer hooked up to a heart monitor, so nobody saw that she headed for the ceiling and past that into a soothing grayish white like on a plane through clouds.
The leaving, just like the paralysis, had not been her will. She could not have imagined flying out on her own outside an airplane. It was not cold. It was not scary. There was plenty of oxygen. And there was love like when she and her dog Corazón looked into each other’s eyes but minus the sense that they were both in danger.
Luz flew until she almost reached a different corner of the universe, one where she was happy and wanted and where the thought of pain did not exist, but the wind that had propelled her slowed to a near stand-still, and then she was given a choice.
She could keep flying until she reached her destination, where she would be loved with the kind of love that felt good. Luz wanted to, but there was one caveat: that kind of love would only last for the blink of an eye before she had to be reborn as someone other than Luz but as a little baby girl nevertheless and in yet another corner of the world noxious to baby girls. There, and under even less propitious circumstances, she would still have to do what she had come to do.
She chose to become sixteen-year-old Luz again, figure out what she had come on earth to do, and do it.
Ricochet into adult life.
Luz lived until she could no longer live without knowing what love was.
She went back to sixteen until she reached the intersection of no longer being Luz and becoming Luz again. She was ready to kill the devil that she had mistaken for the clouds.
Luz was angry with decades and lifetimes of resentment. She stared down the fog, scrutinized it to catch the evil that lurked.
“You’re no god worth a damn if you can’t show me what love is!” she continued, armed with decades of showing her father how much tougher than he she was.
Luz would not budge from the intersection she had reached at sixteen while paralyzed. She remembered the adults fighting, the vociferous fakeries of love to show who looked more worthy of respect. From above, from afar, the frail, mute teen reminded Luz of Corazón, her fragile little dog now faced with the horrifying possibility of no more Luz ever.
Luz kicked the family members into the fog. They did not notice, but she was finally rid of them and alone with the moribund sixteen-year-old.
Ever so gently, she lifted her the way she used to lift Corazón when she sensed that they were both in danger. She kept them both pressed tightly against her chest.
“I’m going to love you the way Corazón loved you,” she whispered, kissing both teen and dog on the head. “I’m ridding us of the monsters that would make us believe that we don’t belong on earth.”
The trio rose to the top of the lake of their living. They saw the pollen rise along with them. And then they saw that they, too, had become pollen.