There was once a girl who fell hopelessly, head-over-heels in love with words. She loved every word she came across: small, fat, charged ones; long, stringy ones; bubbly ones that were like gargling in her throat; greasy ones whose syllables dripped along like cooking oil onto a tablecloth; foreign words that it stretched out her mouth to say. When she’d mastered every word in every human language, she turned her crazy wordlust to the animal languages. She died trying to pronounce antiauthoritarianism in black bear. (Humans, it turns out, aren’t meant to speak bear.)
There was once a girl in love with the sun. She made all kinds of plans for how she might propel herself into the heavens by means of a trampoline, a giant rubber band, a catapult. But in the end she just bought a sun lamp and whiled away her days basking and bronzing.
There was once a girl in love with the earth. You’d have to step over her on your way to work every morning, she’d be so prostrate on the ground with passion. Locals began to leave her offerings–food, sweet tea, romance novels–so she wouldn’t have to get up. For days on end she’d lie clinging to the ground beneath her. Then she died, and the consummation was complete. (Now pale young poets leave food, sweet tea, and romance novels on her grave in tribute.)
There was once a girl in love with piñatas. When the children of her country gathered at birthdays and Christmas to break a piñata, she’d throw herself between them and it and wrench the stick from their little hands. Her house became filled with the products of her rescues–hundreds of blank-eyed donkeys and seven-pointed stars–a piñata museum. When she died, her body was embalmed with fruits and candies and a few silver coins.
Once there was a girl in love with air. She’d suck and suck it in until her body, more air than substance, would float like a fleshy balloon overhead and people would point and envy. But since she didn’t know where to quit, eventually she rose up into the sky, past the atmosphere, to where there was no air. Her last, glorious thought was of Icarus.
There was once a girl so in love with books that she failed to live her own life, holing up in Provence, Philadelphia, the Sahara, King George Island, Easter Island, the cliffs of Dover, the redwood forest, Dublin, Buenos Aires, Shanghai, all the planets mentioned in The Little Prince, ancient Persia, ancient Rome, South Carolina, the South Seas, and Jerusalem. She died young. (Moral: read as fast as you can, for tomorrow… you know the rest.)
Once there was a girl who fell in love with the night. Every day she waited breathlessly for dusk to fall. She spent her entire day thinking of the coming hours, distracted and clumsy and irritable until at last the sun began to set. In the place where she lived, the days were so long, and the nights so short! Then she moved to the Arctic Circle where a night lasts a month, and her life was a dim, shadowy paradise from then on.
There was once a girl in love with silence.
A native of the North Carolina foothills, April Vázquez holds a B.A. in Literature and Language from the University of North Carolina at Asheville and an M.A. in the Teaching of English as a Second Language from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She currently lives in León, Guanajuato, Mexico, where she homeschools her daughters Daisy, Dani, and Dahlia. April’s work has been published or is forthcoming in The Missing Slate, Windhover, Cleaver, The New Plains Review, Gravel, The Fieldstone Review, and others.