woman wearing black elbow sleeved top standing on gray concrete floor
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Where is it? Not in my heart. Not in the trees I was born in. Not in my mother’s belly. Home is not there.

If you’d carve a hole inside my body and cut me open, you’ll find the ghosts that haunt me, like a story that could have been written by Robert Cormier. I’m pretty sure I don’t have a soul –my former priest definitely agrees- but I know. I cut open a dozen of fishes yesterday. I was laughing when I saw how to do it, and then I felt sick when I was doing it. Blood and guts was going all over my hands and my shirt, and blood was also leaving my body and my own guts were killing me because my body was telling me that it wasn’t pregnant, not this time, like always. 

The first time my body told me that, I showed the blood to my aunt, surprised but ready. And she said : this is only the beginning of all the shit that is going to happen in your life. Or, most accurately : C’est le début de tes emmerdes ».

I guess it meant that I’ll have to be brave. But I didn’t want to. No one wants to. I just wished to remain a young and carefree kid, but it didn’t happen as the blood was a curse that things had to change, and there were nothing I could do about it. Back then, I had already read half of Robert Cormier’s book in the library in my small town. It was 2003, and I didn’t know he was already dead by then. I wouldn’t until two years later.

I don’t really like opening myself, but if you ever want to know the kind of person I am, the kind of things that happened, I guess we could say my life is a mix of The Heroes and After the first death and Tenderness and The Chocolate War. Ask me to pick only one and I’d rather spilled my guts. My Guts, which are made of Robert Cormier Books.

I used to, and still find solace in the dark, twisted and cruel world he painted, and the lost, weak and beautiful characters he created because they were so close to home. I felt less alone when I was spilling my blood because it was the only way to hurt myself and make sense of why my life was turning to shit. Nothing was going the right way but at least, at least, Robert Cormier got me.

I believe that I’m like the character Ben, from After the first death, a sacrificial lamb who tries to save everyone and can’t even save himself. Or maybe Francis, from Heroes, a boy who once had his life ahead of him and is now an hometown glory looking for revenge, unable to forget the past or himself.

I was already a hometown glory when Adele sung it. I had a published few short stories, and one of them was deemed worthy of being published, and my face plastered in our local newspaper. My town is not Frenchtown, Monument, but the kids clapped when I walked home because I was the girl from the papers. They looked proud but I wasn’t. Back then, I thought that I had to move forward, be the girl who made it. And staying in my hometown was definitely not part of the plan. Nowadays, the rare times I go back, the people I used to know don’t remember me. I see faces of strangers who recognize me and tell me how good it is that I made it, as they were no future for me in this town anyway.

I now live in one of the most exciting cities in Europe. I don’t tell them how lost I am here. How I wish, just like Robert Cormier, I had been able to immortalize my hometown when I still belonged there. Today I belong nowhere. People don’t know my past, or who I am and they don’t care. My identity is lost and the blood doesn’t remain when there’s no one to claim it. 

I can close my eyes and I can’t sleep because my life will never be as beautiful as my dreams.

At night, I read Robert Cormier’s book and feel comfort. These are the same I used to read in the library back when I was a kid. His stories remain when everything changes.

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