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ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

And Her Eyes Brighten
By Mira


It's dark and slippery and so tight your head is squeezed into itself and your shoulders are one shoulder and your back and your legs hurt and then, bursting, light, tearing, loud, so loud, and white.

(Oh my God, my God.)
(It's a girl. Get the cord, now.)
(Ten fingers, ten toes. Congratulations - )
(My God.)
(She's beautiful.)

You've heard some of these voices before, but now they're all loud and jangly and your ears are roaring and you want to go back where it's warm and quiet and you don't feel so cold everywhere.

Too much light: it's already too late. Useless, to cry.

(What a trouper.)

Empty and a loud noise, and then moving and warm and soft and wet and then not empty.

(Can you believe it, she's eating.)

(Just like she should be. Look at her fingers: so small.)

Shapes come there slowly, dark spots, two dark spots with more dark over them, and other dark spots, and something light over them.

(She's looking at us.)
(Hi. Hi.)

Suddenly there is a curving shape, white and shining, under the darker ones, and your face cracks.

(She's smiling at us.)

(Smile, you think, your face cracking feels like a smile.)

The white space disappears.

(Hi, there. I'm Olivia.)
(I'm Alex.)

Your face stays cracked. It hurts.

The dark spots and patches and the lines that move around the white space and the white space all seem to move around together, one patch, and there's a thing with strange long things poking off it that seems to belong to you because one of them - Olivia - touches it and you feel it, and then it's on the shape of her, and it's warm. (Cheek. This is my cheek.)

Pressure on your skin, where it cracks. (This is your cheek. You have two of them.)

(She should be able to keep shapes together now, it says. And awareness, maybe, of her own body. Do you think she looks aware, Olivia?)

You wish you could say something. Thank you, maybe.

Sometimes a funny tinkling sound makes your face feel stretched again. It doesn't hurt as much, now.

(Do we really need the music?)

(She likes it. Look, she's smiling.)

You do like it. It reminds you of things you don't know about, yet.

(Anyway, her brain is still weeding out all the extra neural connections, and she'll start forgetting all of this. She'll never be as smart as she is now. What if her brain weeds out Mozart?)

(I love you.)

White spaces, again: smile, smile, you think, and you listen to the voice say you'll be forgetting all of this, soon, and you won't be able to remember tinkling Mozart-noise and warmth and these two voices, the two I-love-you voices, and you still can't say anything, can't say I'll miss you, where are you going -

(Why is she crying?)

(This is Casey.)

Casey. What's a Casey? and another face swims into your vision, different.

(See Casey's hair? This is red, sweetheart. Just like your red block.)

This is not red. That red is not this red. The same and not the same, not the same, red, the same. Your face hurts, and so frustrating, they aren't the same, and you can hear a loud noise. Maybe it's you.

(Oh, no, she already hates me.)

This is a Casey. Her voice is low.

(It's just a few hours, kiddo.)

Casey smells different and looks down, looking at you, and points to the pink lines that look like Olivia's, except not, and says these are lips, and this, is a smile.

You already know smile. Lips, you think, lips smile. You smile.

Casey's smile gets bigger.

(Your moms love you very much.)

That word again - love. No one has explained it to you.

You already miss that you won't remember this.

(Don't cry.)

(It's okay.)

Casey looks like she might understand.

The End

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