“Get your head out of the clouds.” That’s what everyone and their mother always said to Lorenza. They protested her mental wanderings and railed against her absent-mindedness, believing that if they could only scold her hard enough, one day she would listen to them and return to earth. Unfortunately, their hopes, like their misguided admonitions, were in vain.
In Lorenza’s opinion, there was nothing wrong with her. How could she focus on any one thing when there was so much going on? She found it not just difficult, but wrong to deny the best parts of herself to fit in with others. After all, as much as she loved to peer into people’s faces, the colors their voices made demanded most of her attention. She understood that she came off as rude at times, but she tried to amend that with explanations. Her synesthesia was an anomaly, that was a fact, and over time it had shaped her, opened her up to experiences that would otherwise be denied by others. She thought it was a blessing.
Spacey was one word for her that she heard a lot. She preferred whimsical. What a lovely word; curved and swirled and dancing on the tongue when it was spoken. It left the sweetest taste in her mouth. Whimsical. Whimsical and fantastic and splendid. That’s what life was meant to be. That sort of life didn’t seem well suited for Earth, however. Earth could be splendid, when empty and silent in nature’s way, but moments like that were far and few between.
On Earth, there existed an untapped void of potential, a liminal curtain between the world ignored by most humans and what lay in their greatest dreams and worst nightmares. That in-between world led to an infinite number of others, all pressed together but never merging, separated by thin but unbreakable panes. Since she was tiny, Lorenza had been catching glimpses of what lay beyond those panes, through those walls forged by cosmic will.
She had reached for them with desperation to escape for as long as she could remember.
In her reaching, her fingertips had grazed stars, her lungs had filled with the cotton in clouds, her eyes had beheld fantastic and terrible things, and after being a witness to such majesty, she never wanted to return to the surface. She wanted to roam freely between the veils of existence, searching for somewhere that would satisfy her, for somewhere that would greet her with open arms that did not suffocate her into submission.
The only things that had tethered her to her home world had since gone away. Different shades and textures of blood had been spilled on the canvas of her life and left her scrambling to cover the dark stains with something beautiful. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes her futile attempts at repainting her soiled canvas earned her more scars and stains to cover up.
Her family poked fun at her for having terrible taste in women, petting her like a kitten when the girls she broke off pieces of herself or stepped on her and left her on the ground. She often saw herself being crushed under their heels as becoming a possibility, but that failed to deter her. She still cracked herself open for them like a geode and let them take their favorite parts of her with them when they left. They loved her kindness, her softness, her intelligence, and the gentle sweetness of a spring sunset that enveloped them and drained them of pain. She made their scars a part of her, and no matter how many open wounds they made in her, she always went back to them hoping that things would be different this time.
She remembered the first time a living star had caught her eye with a cloud of dark hair and deep brown eyes that drowned her. She had gotten lucky in having open-minded parents that embraced their baby girl wanting to marry a princess, and so felt little shame at sneaking into the school basement to wrap herself up in angels that had fallen from grace into her arms. She loved to lift them up, staying up at all hours to hear their lamentations and breaking her parents’ rules to join them in the middle of the night.
These first few whimsical romances unfortunately didn’t last long. Sometimes she gave too much or too little, or they found someone better, prettier, more their taste than her, and she would watch them leave with little bits of her over and over again. These painful separations only made her softer, more eager to please, or more desperate to do so. She wanted the love in fantasy stories, the romances that could shake mountains and save worlds.
Slowly but surely, her broken heart grew tired of staining her messy canvas and yanked her up into the clouds. There she resolved to stay.
The next time the world demanded her presence was more painful than all of these failed love affairs combined. Her life was shaken to the core and collapsed inward. She should have been faster in reaching the lobby. She should have taken those bullets. Her blood should have stained the marble floor, not her parents. They deserved so much better. There was so much they would never get to do or see now.
Their deaths devastated her enough to pierce the veil she had always caught glimpses of; her cries of grief fractured the panes that separated her from worlds that she could have sworn were better than this one. It was such a high price to pay for realizing her most impossible dreams, but with nothing to lose, she accepted the blessing in the hopes that she would be able to find a place that may fill the void turning her inside out.
She has yet to achieve her new impossible goal. She hopes, and she’s always hoping for something, that one day she will reach a point of peace somewhere that will embrace her with someone who will give, and not just take. Until that day, she will continue to wander between worlds, always misplaced, always misunderstood, and never satisfied.
Written by Teresa Coste