The Accident

Ila Plank

I lost my dad. I don’t know how it happened. I can’t remember his name.

I fly over blue trees. They’re shaped like evergreens. Somehow I know they’re soft to touch, yet I have never touched them.

I tumble into a room filled with toys. The room is split into two halves. One is orange, and the other is blue. I can see dolls and teddy bears. Everything is blurry. Somebody androgynous puts their hand on my shoulder. I look up at them, but I can’t see their face.

“Are you looking for somebody?”

“I think so.”

Was I looking for my dad? Suddenly I can’t remember. I take the spiral stairs downward. The sky is hazy, sort of an orange-purple. A purple-orange. I don’t know where I’m going.

My feet aren’t cold, but they aren’t warm, either. I wonder how the sky can be dark and bright at the same time. I look at it again, and it’s covered in butterflies. They are the clouds. They make everything dark.

It is so difficult to breathe. The air is thick, like I have a blanket covering my mouth. I feel overheated, but my feet are lukewarm. 

The ground is soft in texture but hard in structure, like hardened putty. I can’t tell if it’s sandy in color or green. Maybe the sky is too dark. Maybe I just can’t see. I don’t think about why I can’t fly right now.

I’m wearing a dress that only goes down to my knees, but I don’t know how long my hair is. I’m not sure what my face looks like. Am I a boy? A girl? Something else? I don’t think about that either. 

By now, I forget about my dad. Now I’m just wandering, lost, stuck in this world that is beautiful and suffocates me. I don’t think about death, either. I’m not scared, so I don’t know why my heart is beating so heavily. It feels like a pulse that isn’t mine, like a big machine inside me.

The sky is black. Giant orange teddy bears walk beside me, their arms and legs swaying carelessly as they march. They’re the color of an orange cream ice pop. They look friendly and soft, but they don’t talk to me. Behind me, giant blue dolls appear. I think I must be frightened of them, because I can’t look at them. I don’t know what they look like, except that they are the same blue as the sky I know in another place. In another time.

Baby pink poppies and daisies grow around me and the teddy bears. I march with them. We are on a quest together but I don’t know what for. One of the teddy bears shrinks and shrinks until it falls into my small arms. I give it a hug, and name it something that I will forget. I will name it again.

The giant teddy bears wave and turn around together, leaving me in a giant field of soft pink flowers with my teddy bear. He doesn’t talk to me, so I still feel alone.

The ground disappears beneath me and I fall down a tunneled slide. It’s purple. It’s too dark to see, but I know it’s purple. I don’t know how I know. I’m not afraid, but my heart still pulses inside me. It feels like each of my limbs has a heart. It feels like my heart stretches to each part of my body. I can feel it everywhere all at once. I roll out in front of a tall, ivory castle. It’s lit up with orange lanterns. The sky isn’t black anymore. The butterflies are gone. The sky is dark blue like the ocean that surrounds us. My teddy bear rolls out behind me and holds my hand in his tiny paw. 

I take a step forward and somehow I’m already at the top of the castle. The king is wearing blue robes. Somehow I can’t speak. I start crying. The teddy bear sits on my shoulders and holds onto pieces of my hair in his paws. The king wraps me in his blue robes, a warmth I didn’t know I needed. I shrink into his arms like my teddy bear had just moments before.

It was an accident, I say in my head. I don’t know how I got lost. The king calls me his child and the air feels breathable again.

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