I remember when I was a little girl.
There isn’t much I do remember but I remember when I was small and my mother would sit silently, reading one of her giant, beautiful books. She was so peaceful when she was reading.
She was an icy shade of pale ivory. Her dark brown hair was mostly limp and lifeless. Her yellow/green eyes scanned the pages of her books for hours each day. Remembering her is almost like looking at photographs of myself in the future. I can’t remember the sound of her voice, or the scent of her breath, but I remember the way she would alter her voice as she read to me, engaging in the story more than anything else. I remember the comfort I felt when she would wrap me up in the security of our adventures.
I remember feeling peaceful with her.
My mother rarely felt peace. She was always trying to numb the pain. The pain of being a failure by societal standards. I guess I’m resentful because I never imagined in a million years that I would end up like her. I had the opportunity to see what happened to girls who made the wrong choices. I saw what kind of woman they grow into. I didn’t want that for myself, but it was all I ever knew.
She would read to me aloud. She would lose herself in the moment and I would see the distance in her eyes. She was in another world. Somewhere without me.
She read to me about fearsome dragons and the brave princes who would slay them. She recited the tales of fairies and ogres and witches and wizards. We didn’t have much back home, but we had stories. That was more than enough.
The books were all old and decrepid. Loose threads hung from the spines of many, exposing pages that had loosened their bindings.
The condition of the books made them more beautiful to me.
You could tell how many times they had been read; that the stories had been savored, studied and shared over the years.
I imagined these stories being part of history. The part that came before the Mayflower and the Revolutionary War.
The happily ever after always threw me off. These stories were just the beginning, and nothing had ended up happily afterwards.
History has always been full of death and tragedy. It creates opportunities for future horror.
There is a pattern, and order to the maddness.
There is a recursive, repeating flow of events that have created our destructive past and perpetuate our dangerous future.
These books, my mother, they are a product and a producer of destruction.
Destruction and tragedy are often masked with extraordinary beauty.
Life lures you in like that.
Shows you something tempting; then reels you in before you can even think to get away.
Thats what happened to me. I was blinded by the beauty of my mother, of the stories, of the world.
I had a delusional outlook on life that allowed me to fall into the traps set for me by the universe.
I fell, like a fool, for the tricks that were set up to test me.
I said yes when I knew I should have said no.
I ran when I should have stayed and faught.
I gave up everything that mattered to me for something easy.
I failed myself and I haven’t found the opportunity for a new start.
My name is Ali.
Allison Iceland Warren.
My mother named me after the most beautiful woman she ever knew and the most beautiful place she had ever been.
I have been on a journey to find both since my mother left me.
I’ve made it as far North as New York City and I have made as much progress in finding my grandmother, Allison, as I have in raising myself since I was 14.
This is where my journey has ended up, but not where it ends.