I refer to them as creatures in spite of their obvious intelligence. I refuse to acknowledge the tree-sized tungsten-based life forms as anything other than inferior to humans. If you insist, I admit they have shown some resiliency and even some unexpected ingenuity, particularly in the South American campaign. This is due to the differences in the way we process information and respond to stimuli, not some inherent advantage over us. Mark my words, we will prevail and drive these abominations from the Earth.
Why do my words seem so small in comparison to the grandeur of the world I imagine? The expanse of stars splattered against the roof of heaven becomes a splotch of paint on my hands; a heart-ache that makes it hard to breathe becomes a smile crashing into the sidewalk; the majestic breast of the hunting hawk becomes the newspaper at the bottom of the canary cage.
A bargain struck, many generations ago, in the hopes of keeping the peace. An exchange between the two ruling houses once in a thousand full moons. The eldest unmarried child for the eldest unmarried child to become a member of the opposite house. So it came to time for the exchange: Fredrick, from House Barthumber in the north, and Louisa May from House Congerancor in the south. Under the terms of the agreement, neither of these children, though they approached the age of emancipation, were to meet under any circumstance. Yet they conspired, those impetuous youth, through the duplicity of their personal servants, to arrange a clandestine rendezvous in the forest between the two kingdoms. That is where the wolf found them before he killed them both, condemning the land to renewed combat.
My brother wears his shirts untucked. He likes the button-down short-sleeved shirts with a pocket over his heart. Those kind of shirts have flaps at the bottom, the part that should be tucked in. But he doesn’t. I think those are called tails, the parts that hang below the bottom button, but maybe that’s just the backside. I’m not sure what the frontside ones should be called. It’s not the opposite of a tail, if there is such a thing, because they are the same things, only in front. Any way, the tails in front on the right side are torn, cut by the twist-top bottle caps of his favorite beer. He uses the end of his shirt when he twists the tops off so he doesn’t cut his hand. He’s right-handed, after all.
You’ve asked me to take your place, to be your proxy, but I don’t know what keeps you awake at night, the choices you wish you had made, the secrets you won’t even tell yourself. I can see it in your eyes, a hesitancy, a regret, a memory you want to forget, but you can’t, and when we flip that switch, and I start walking in your shoes, I won’t be able to forget either; I’ll see the world as you do, be carried by the faith that guides you, and journey into that future for you.