Willing To Fight

Willing To Fight

Zoe Migicovsky

You gave me fluorescent flowers. I watched them die under blacklight. When I turned it off, they were ordinary, brown, dead. I put them in the trashcan. I was sure there would be others.

My father would use found objects for art. This is basically stealing. Twisted body hangers, broken bottles and wind chimes. He told me to look beyond the functional use. There is more than just the purpose for which you are created.

My father took diazepam to sleep at night. Little yellow pills by his pillow. I am not sure if he was supposed to have them, that was not a question to be asked. It reminds me of a metal box, an aluminum vehicle, how when there is snow and wind, when there is fog, you are almost separate from earth. Suspended. That is why I was scared of cars, but my father was okay with marionette fishing wire strings holding him slightly above reality. Asleep and safe, relaxed and floating, the lovely effects of a muscle relaxant. When there is no tension in your body, disaster is just a word.

I sometimes took pills after Matthew was gone. I have my father's vices, if not his artists-excuse. You can get codeine out of Tylenol, it's called cold water extraction. Crush to a fine powder and dissolve, cool, and pour it through a coffee filter. After that you drink the bitter solution. The cure you have created. That was my ritual, and eventually you learn exactly how much to take. Eventually you learn that a painkiller doesn't get rid anything, it just covers it up. With a certain kind of pain though, the kind inside your bones, that is exactly what you want.

I didn't want to forget, I just didn't want it to hurt.

When I was nine my father told me if I wanted to love, I had to be willing to fight. I didn't know what he meant; I just had a lot of numbers and a lot of books. I wanted to be an accountant. I was okay without meaning.

I didn't have anything to offer you. Not the next day when I saw you and I smiled. Not the next week when I had felt your skin. But it was okay, because plants and mycorrhizae can have a symbiotic relationship. The fungus gets sugars that the plants create when they photosynthesize. The mycorrhizae provide the phosphorus from the soil.

What I didn't realize is how much more the plant relies on the mycorrhizae, especially when there aren't many nutrients available. When I am hungry, I need you most. So you evolved into a part of me.

Plants put into a sterile environment grow slowly, or die. How was I supposed to survive without you? Did you know you were killing me when you left? Did I think I no longer needed you?

Every biological relationship has its human counterpart. Desperate parasites. Cleaner wrasse fish inside a manta ray's mouth, surviving despite the danger, always living with the immediate threat of disaster.

I loved you because you were the safest man I had ever known.

That's a lie; there are so many more reasons.