I remember watching you at the kitchen table doing your schoolwork, chipping away at the world. Papers and pens, ideas and ink. As if you were at the starting line and someone shot a gun, you were off. Ready, set, go. And it flowed.
I was trying to do my own work too, but I looked up. My bad. It stopped me in my tracks. You forged ahead, you passed me by, and that was okay. You ran laps around me. I renounced the race, sat on the sidelines with my lastima and blank pages. The way you held your pen like a baby squirrel, it took all of my energy. I had nothing left for the course.
You grasped your fingers around the writing utensil like it was a precious nut you wanted to store away for winter. Like you were a cavewoman writing on stone. Like you were afraid to let go.
We’d break for lunch, you having accomplished what you set out to do, but I was just useless. As if I’d spent the hours waving a flag on the bleachers. Mom would bring us tacos and you’d pick up the tortilla in that same squirrel-clutch, while my heart bled on a plate.
We’d eat, me pushing food past the lump in my throat. And then I’d write, “I love you” because there was nothing more to say.