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A few days before leaving Vietnam

(By then I’d lost track of time

It seemed to both stand still

and move at lightning speed

all at once)

.

With the sun sleepily rising

I finished brushing my teeth

Bare feet comfortably resting

on the earth

.

I looked in the mirror

Feeling safe with mountains hugging behind me

And for a moment

Out of seemingly nowhere

I felt a jolt of electricity move through my body.

.

But it wasn’t sharp, or harsh.

It was warm and lovely, glowing

.

Like being struck by the sun

Turning every molecule in my body into fire

A fire that’s powerful

A fire that’s radiant

A fire that’s steady

.

And as my flames touched the sky

I saw a little girl in the mirror

.

With hip-length hair

And scrawny legs

She scanned over me

.

My eyes followed hers

As she moved

From my toes

To my hips

To my hands

To my nose

She made her way up my body

.

She paused for a moment

Staring at my collar bone

And touched her own hair

Held it long in her hands

Examining the beautiful brown shine

.

She smiled at it halfheartedly

.

Finally she looks up

And our eyes meet

Hers are big and round

Green mixed with gold

.

She stared at me

And keeping our gaze

She dropped the soft brown strands

And smiled

Revealing a gaping space between her two front teeth

.

Her smile was warm, pure

Light

Like a weight had been lifted

Letting the edges of her lips rise with ease

Like a bubble floating to the surface

.

What can rise

Might just fly

.

And at that moment

I realized

I was exactly who that little girl wanted to see

I realized

I am exactly who that little girl needed

.

It took going to the other side of the world

To see that child smile

.

That little girl

Was me


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