the gift

Every year, on my birthday, I check to make sure it’s still there.

Every year, it is, and my heart is both torn and comforted.
It was the first thing I ever knew, and over the years has become a part of me. I think that without it, I would be lost.

Every year, for my birthday, I take it, wrap it up in pretty paper, and give it back to her, but I could do that a thousand times and it would still be here inside of me. It makes me who I am… but I do wonder what it would be like if it were gone.

Inside is the very first thing I was ever given, and something I carry with me even today. Even more today.

I didn’t have any words to voice what I felt, couldn’t make sense of it as the heartbeat and smell and warmth that let me feel that I would be safe was ripped away and I was torn out of the arms that for fifteen minutes kept the cold of the world away forever.

I would take it out, put it in a small box, wrap it up in pretty paper and hand it to her. Inside is something bigger than she is or can ever be, but something that over years and years made me stronger than I ever could have otherwise been. It takes a lot to hold the pieces together for so long.

She would open it up every year on my birthday.
Inside would be the baby’s pain.