The Girl with Glass Skin
by Michael Obilade
The Girl with Glass Skin
It was a small and quiet town in the mountains the kind of town both
travelers and natives wrote love letters and poems for and about. There were
three wells, three roads, and three babes born the day I arrived. One of the
three was a girl. I saw her an hour after she first opened her eyes, and two
hours after she had drawn her first breath.
"Hold her," her mother told me. I looked at the girl, wrapped in a blue
blanket. She had her mother's eyes.
"I can't." I spoke as I reached to hold her. She was light not in
complexion, but in weight. She was a package of thoughts. She looked at me,
and I looked at her. The midwife looked at both of us.
"Is there any hope?" her mother asked finally. "Death will come if she is
touched. I cannot hold my child. But I will not live without her."
I could not find an answer. But as I turned to give her back, it dawned upon
"Death will come if she is touched?" I murmured. The midwife nodded. The
mother cried softly. I could hear the wind, blowing from the mountains. I
looked at this girl whose skin was like glass, and she looked at me. She was a
clear white and blue. A newborn glacier.
She smiled, almost imperceptibly. I reached out and kissed her.
I shattered like a glass, one dropped from great heights. She fell from my
arms, still swaddled in blue. Her mother caught her. Before my ears reached
the floor before they, like the rest of me, shattered into thousands I
heard her speak.
"She has her father's lips."
The evening I received a blue rose from my ex-wife, I finally understood what
she had told me throughout our twelve years of marriage: everything is
connected. It was the eve of Cinco de Mayo, and a woman I still loved was
sleeping beside me, her breasts white in the moonlight. Her arms rising and
falling with my chest. I had to be in Rio de Janeiro by sunrise, but I did not
want to leave. The red ghost of our marriage took my hand, and led me to the
door of my hotel room. There it faded from red, to blue, to white, to ether as
I picked up the newspaper. The date was tomorrow's. A blue rose grew out of
the paper, whose headline announced the death of a Brazilian dignitary and his
ex-wife, perished in a fire that arose from the passion of their love.
I dropped the paper; I did not need to read it. I simply returned to the woman
I loved, and together, we committed arson.
Michael Obilade is a Nigerian-born musician, poet, and aspiring novelist.
Although he lives in Illinois during the summer months, he is currently
attending college in New England, where he eagerly awaits each winter's
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story copyright by author 2005 all rights reserved