Universe #29

Written by Terra Ungson
Art by Katrin Korfmann

I don’t recall when I first realized that I was myself, but I remember that she was my first memory. Her cry was my first breath; she looked at the sky and I knew what light was—and I was not light.

Over the years, she climbed trees, chased dreams, and forged friendships under the sun while my fists clutched at branches and my back scorched beneath its torrid heat. My form ached to stretch in fields and rest beneath streetlights. My limbs longed to reach for her, hoping that she would recognize me.

In another universe, we would have been sisters. But these circumstances never changed our ways. I wonder if she would recognize me now without sound, nor depth, nor color. What have I become if not merely an echo or ripple? Maybe somehow she would see the smoke and for a moment, remember what we were. Maybe then she would be able to understand a piece of me, or at least the version of me in this universe. But she is too cautious about starting a fire.

I’ve been trying to recall what it feels like to touch something—the sting of a fresh cut, the itch of a healing wound, the regret of a picked scab. Her light, though, is well nurtured, and she will never know these agonies. She will only feel the comfort of balms and bandages; her cries will be soothed by lullabies and popsicles.
Every part of her that pulses or throbs is left for me to feast on, and although I find it agonizing to be pulled in by her presence, I only ache because I am refused her touch. In this universe, she is loved—and I am only meant to watch.