By Athena Tan
The year I was born was the year that colours seemed to implode everywhere on grey sidewalks; the pavement was so hot that eggs, milky with yolk, could be fried on the concrete.
Eggs and the sidewalk. Eggs on the sidewalk. Eggs being fried outside, next to the black tar of roads. Eggs redefined the meaning of outdoor cooking.
Although it was really the weather that set off this chain of outdoor-cooking-convenience. The sun, in particular, lit up the skies for at least sixteen hours per day – when I turned sixteen years old the sun yawned only when seventeen hours of a day had passed – and my mother said, “Oh boy, the sun’s hotter than myself, when I married your Mom!” She liked to boast that she wore a fire-engine red dress on her wedding day, that her wedding gown was the epitome of herself: red hot, fiery, bold.
On the fifteenth of March, year twenty-sixty, two eggs bubbled on the sidewalk outside our house. The sun was hanging in the sky and silver birds streaked across, passing over the yellow circumference of the sun, before promptly falling onto our front lawn(I felt that it was a pitiful resting place for the animals; our front lawn is, to this date, filled with tangled, yellowish-brown weeds that can cause a stomach upset). My mother tells me that she had been sick in bed, so Mom had been the one to go out to our front lawn and move the feathered corpses with a broom.
That’s when Mom saw the eggs. A pair of eggs with tinted whites and the palest yolks she’d ever seen! They were bubbling, practically steaming, right on the bit of sidewalk that our front lawn fringed upon. Mother says that Mom yelled at her to get off her sickly ass, honey! , and soon the both of them were huddled around the square of sidewalk where two eggs were frying upon.
The first egg had its white tinted pastel. “A delightful rose-pink”, Mother said, and I like to imagine that that wonderful colour had been my egg white.
However, my egg-white was coloured a devil’s red. “The inner-skin of an angel”, my Mom said. When I’d arched an eyebrow and asked her why, she shrugged her shoulders, but a smile tugged half of her lips up to her eyes. Mother knocked her wife on the head with a cheeky smile of her own dancing on her face, and whispered to me, all hush-hush, “Your mother believes that the skin of devils who parade around inside angels’ bodies are the darkest red you’ll ever see in your lifetime.”
The darkest, richest red colour shone from the second egg-white, and the longer Mother had stared at it, the more disturbed she felt. “It’s –it’s so bold!” Mom had dipped mother on the sidewalk, right then and there, in front of my egg, and pressed a kiss to her forehead, “Aren’t you the epitome of bold, my darling?”
I chose that moment to burst out of my egg. My skin was honey-brown like Mom’s and I had eyes the colour of coal on a stove. My fingernails gripped onto both my sweet women – my parents – the moment they reached for me, at the same time. Mom chuckles and says that I held her wrist tighter, so I must be her favourite. Mother begs to differ.
The minute after I was born, the parent who was holding me, dropped me like a sack of potatoes. Both parents bicker about who actually cause the scar on my scalp, but what I’m interested in is not the fact that my parents dropped me after sixty seconds of seeing the light of the Earth.
I’m more interested in the fact that I had, with my infant-buttocks, squashed the other egg. The one lying next to the egg I’d been born from, the one in a delightful shade of rose-pink. I remember falling to the ground, hearing someone from above tell me that hopefully, I’d enjoyed my sixty seconds of living, and then…being cushioned by the warmest, softest thing I’d ever felt.
I felt like I’d fallen upon the feathers of a bird, but a nagging feeling tells me that it was my sister – that kind creature. Leaving me with only a scar as a tell-tale sign of her murder.
“Aunt-ee An-jill-eeka”, my niece crows, pawing at the fabric of my wedding gown. I give her a smile, as bright as the sun which hangs over this church, the church where I’m getting married in, and ask her what she thinks of my dress.
“It looks…it looks like a wose!”
“A rose, sweetie – that’s how it’s pronounced.”
Like my mother’s wedding gown, the garment I have on is the epitome of myself, too: Fragrant and fragile, and thorns hidden.
Please. I just chose this dress because it complements my complexion nicely. Nothing more, nothing less.
Athena is a student who wishes that Creative Writing was a subject of its own, so she could let her imagination run faster than her pen can. When not performing sub-par in mathematics, she enjoys writing prose that she will Never Show the World and layered with Far Too Many Adjectives.
Website | https://ssaur.wordpress.com/