Red



Each mile we move towards the Texas border feels like a ripping away. Like piece after agonizing piece of my carefully constructed armor is being torn from my insides.  

Dramatic, much? 

Not usually. 

But now, is anything but usual. Now, is a leaving behind and an unknown forward. Now, is saying goodbye to constant motion and hello to empty space. 

Now…I’m just a motherless daughter. 

From the passenger seat I sit stoic, betraying the angry, unshed tears boiling beneath my freckled, sun-kissed skin. I stare, eyes fixed on the passing desert landscape all around me, feeling more raw, more exposed than I’ve ever felt in my life. 

It’s too much … too much has been taken already. 

How much more? 

The stranger in the driver’s seat next to me, wears my thunderstorm eyes and long, unruly ginger waves like they were always hers. This stranger, wears my face, twenty years from now, like a passport stamped with stories. This stranger, with my blood coursing through her veins, leans back into her sun soaked seat, like this road, right now, is where she was always meant to be. 

And all I want to do is disappear into comfortable shadows, and pretend my face, my eyes, my hair…still belong, only to me. 

Chelsey Whitlow

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