The tent in our backyard wasn’t ours, but it stayed there. I don’t know why we never took it down. Why we bothered to mow around it and not straight through it.
One time, in that tent, I asked my brother, “Why is the sky blue?”
And he said, “I’m afraid of change.”
There is something strange in the night and in our backyard for us to be nothing but honest. I don’t know the reason for the sky being blue, but I know I wanted to hear him say that the sky is blue because it’s infinite, and infinite things are always beautiful colors.
Once when I was thirteen, I did the laundry. It was so taxing that I thought I could turn my labor into a franchise and never do anything with my life ever again. Afterwards, I pulled a wrinkled pair of jeans out of the dryer and put them on. They dragged on the floor and were too loose on my waist, so I held them up every time I walked.
My mother saw me and questioned, “Why are you wearing jeans that don’t fit you?”
I replied, “Because blue things are infinite.”
They aren’t mine either, but they’re still here too.
I haven’t gone back to that tent.
At dinner, in the middle of mashed potatoes, my dad said, “Don’t you think the tent is taking up too much space?”
I imagined myself reaching across the table and shaking his shoulders, of prying my mouth open to scream that the chair next to me is a hole that can never be filled, that we are all hollow cardboard cut-outs of ourselves pretending to be whole, and the tent is the only place that isn’t empty.
But instead I scooped a pile of mashed potatoes onto my fork and said, “We don’t have anywhere else to put it.” I think that is the closest I will get to saying that I’m afraid of change too.
Safira Khan is a student at the University of Southern California majoring in journalism with a minor in screenwriting. Her work has been published in multiple poetry anthologies, and when she’s not piled up with school work (or hitting up the beach) she’s writing stories. She currently writes for a lifestyle, culture and fashion magazine.