Imaginary Friend | Christine Salek

Sometimes, when you have life growing inside of you, you wish you were a child again, and the thing inside you could be an imaginary friend that you feed and water and care for because you want to, not because you have to, and you don’t gain weight, and you don’t need special clothes, and it’s not because you and the smaller life are the same that you’re moody and tired and sad all the time, but because your own existence is too heavy to handle, and if you close your eyes it’s just you and no one else, just you, and not only can you never see the life inside you, it is whatever you want it to be, and when you grow up it disappears because it never was anything

Sometimes, you place your hand on your midsection as you breathe, pushing your stomach out all the way as you take in air, just to see if it stays heavy and round, because if you can inhale life hold, one, two, three, four perhaps you can exhale it too (your eyes close in case it’s something you’re not meant to see) and you will it to be expelled, the life inside you, anything that doesn’t belong to you, and you push down a little at the end, all the way to your spine, to make sure it’s all gone

In the end, the electric vacuum breathes for you, inside you, reaching where you only hoped you could on your own, inhale, you feel the life leaving you, leaving to grow somewhere else, and you close your eyes and when it stops it’s just you and no one else, and you open, exhale, and you are finally, finally alone

Christine Salek has lived on both coasts and currently resides in Wisconsin, where they are a grad student. They work at a library, play in an orchestra, watch a lot of women’s sports, and tweet @enbybird.