Most times, their words are disconnected, like you’re submerged with this protective helmet of gelatinous goo shielding your brain from the sound. You like to pretend this second skin is much more, shrouding you from everything, not just words, raising you to a higher level, a level they could never comprehend.
You hear it asked. It’s always asked.
Funny thing is, you’ve never asked it yourself. Not when you were a little girl, nor when you were an awkward teenager. When, where, what, even how, but never why. It’s never been something you’ve considered, outside of the cliché: Why ask why?
It just is. It’s a yes or a no, stay or a go, do or do not do scenario. There is no why.
“Are you listening to me?”
An image of your mother fills your head, her eyebrows arched and lips twisted in a forced smile, the afternoon sunlight tinting the smoky haze a golden yellow around her ash blonde hair. She must have asked you that a dozen time a day, every day, until the day she grew sick and died. Even when you were older, and she was scared of who you’d grown into, she still asked. Only then with a touch of humor laced through her tone.
Yeah. She’d been scared of you, but fought her instincts, welcoming you into her arms. And you’d loved her for it, fighting your own instincts, as best you could. But ever since she left you lost the reason to fight, so your instincts took hold and you became the hunter you were meant to be.
“Don’t you care?”
They slap photo after photo down on the stainless steel table. Vibrant colors swirl and separate, the reds, in particular, melding to form a beautiful stream that tell a story with no words. A story to keep children and adults alike up in their beds with their blankets tucked tightly around them, as if that would keep out the bogeyman.
If they think the images will resonate, stir some emotion from you yet to be seen, they are wrong. They’re always wrong.
No, you don’t care. Never have, and nothing they say or do will change that. If you cared, you might ask yourself why. But then you go right back to the same old argument: Why ask why?
So you just do, and leave the questions for others.