“Aura” by Ginny Rachel
I was perhaps four when I first saw the colors and stood in the gigantic spiral- shaped sprawling church lost someplace deep in my past. A haloed glow hovered around plain-robed priests. I asked and was told, “We don’t discuss the lights.” These men glowed white from no source, and were shadowless. The wide-open space was dim, like the murky depths of thick muddy water. Heads blurred into the background above pews silent beneath the gloom of a bewildering, lonely place. Should they be good men?
The auras came and went until I became the fish frozen in ice, trapped in a bowl, and strung on a trout line unable to escape. I learned marriage made the world dull to my eyes. In this state, new experiences evolved that carved and shaped the scars left behind on my body and mind so I would never forget. Some men gave their ladies flowers or jewelry, or perhaps even a kind word of care and support—just a daisy a day. Not.
Instead, what I knew was the crimson-centered, purple-black pattern of five neat encircling fingerprints left on my arms like tattoos. I knew there was no escaping the miasma of wrongness—all was my fault—which was illogical, but made perfect sense. There was no love, only survival of the fittest. I didn’t know that then, but gradually a day arrived, an hour, a minute when I realized I intended to endure, and be the fittest. Because he was not.
Already he was sick and dying. A thick greasy black light returned to hover around him at times, with prodding fingers that checked him out for size, as if the body might be only a suit, or pinched him, to prepare for the time he’d be devoured with ripping teeth. The end came without fanfare; no love lost, only an unburdening of intense, smothering pressure.
Immediately the lights became a striated conglomeration woven around people, and sounds increased to supernatural levels. A simple act of driving on the same road, in the same truck became otherworldly without direction or any recall of familiarity. The guilt of what I had thought of doing, even though I never acted, became my shroud. I bore this cloak and still bear it as I muddle through memories to grasp an understanding of how I erred.
A day arrived when I stepped closer into the shoes of a whole person. I was fully satisfied not to take care of another being and worry about when the eggshells would crack wide open.
Had I been the smart, tough little girl, I’d have snuffed the one who stole my young life away, who commandeered my being, who removed my identity, and who only wanted a replacement mother to ensure that I could never be one to an actual child. The marks he left run deep, as if a sign on the forehead that attracts the few who will ever stalk my fractured being.
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Ginny Rachel lives in Princeton, WV and is currently an Adjunct English Instructor
for several colleges in the area. She received her MFA from West Virginia Wesleyan
College in 2015. Ginny followed a non-traditional path towards finally having the
opportunity to study the craft of writing.
She dropped out of college in the ‘80’s to pursue a life of playing music and living on
the road. Over a course of many jobs and experiences she drifted back into the world of
academia. Music and writing are interconnected in all that she does and are the key to
how she identifies herself as an artist.