To The Buried Child
Updated: Jun 26
I’m not sure who this concerns or when we lost contact. I can already begin to imagine the “return to sender” notification that will appear as I click send on this message. I am not sure where to begin this journey or when we began our journey at all. I know that it was on a Tuesday, four days before summer, twenty years ago to the day.
You are the child that I deemed useless, a moment in time worth forgetting. I’ve buried all the variants of you. But as we’ve grown, changed, and rearranged every aspect of our existence, I realized that you are a child — lying within the reconfiguration of an adult that I have become. How can I coexist with someone I can hardly begin to think about?
You’re a video I refuse to watch. I deny that you were ever me and I was ever you. I think of the talkative child who was angered by authority and I am filled with disgust. We are not the same, you and I. We are not the same. We are not the same. Or maybe we coexisted, but was I truly there with you? I can think of the moment you may have sent me a message of your own, that autumn night I was suddenly hit with an urge to create a project fully catered and centered around you. I called it ‘dress up’ . It was an ode to you. Did you ever receive that message? Was it lost in the translation? Did I ever press send?
I can’t erase the past, no matter how strong my will may be, and I no longer wish to. I can’t make up for twenty years of torment, but I tried my best with a shovel in my fist. I dug our graves on my own and as much I buried you, I was just as much a child as you are. You’ve been gone for three years, ever since we first stepped foot into adulthood, officially blowing out the candles on a slanted cake. I've felt your presence wavering, growing cold in retreat, you let me win the fight, hiding yourself further. I can still feel your movements within the house I’ve built for you — the lights are low, if they glow at all, but in this moment I want you, need you, to erupt and have the chance to grow out of me.
I should have appreciated you more and realized the greatness surrounding your existence: how you could light up at the sight of our father, how the world wasn’t quite that bleak in your eyes, how the universe was colorful, how you could craft any piece of scrap into some other thing. I miss the hours we would spend engrossed in a world we had built from nothing, us and a floor of dolls that took us miles away from that living room. I want to say that I’m sorry face to face. I will love you until the end, until the candle finally goes out in us, until you turn out that very last light. Come back to me, come back to me. We will build the life we deserve, one warmed by the love I vow to pour back into you. Come back to me.
The vessel you’re within
Edited by: Ava Emilione
Find Makiyah Hicks (she/her) on Instagram at @Mikielo_
Find Ava Emilione (they/she) on Instagram at @ordinaryavaa