Tara Isabel Zambrano
It's true that our neighbor, an old woman, slept in the shelter because it made her feel less lonely. My mother saw herself in her, said there was something to learn from that.
It's true that my mother was once a girl in a feathery skirt, had crickets in her pocket for luck. She fell in love with a boy who lived on the Ferris wheel because he was afraid of his father. He had bird bones inside his collars and cuff to keep them stiff. My mother cut herself to match his bruises, slept next to him and never touched.
It's true once the boy talked non-stop for three days—mostly spy stories and fairy tales, then stopped mid-sentence. When my mother looked at him, he shrugged his shoulders and together they sat in the top car, watched the city covered in pollen.
It's true that after the boy and his family moved to another town, my mother always had whiskey in her coffee mug. She married the first man who proposed to her, my father, who owned a city apartment with oak wood furniture, pristine glassware and rooms with a view.
It's true that my father believed he'd die the moment the ceiling fan in his bedroom would turn off. My mother kept a generator to keep the fan running during power cuts. One day, at work, he died of electrocution from a faulty device— his limbs twisted like the blades of a fan.
It's true that my mother walked through the rooms at night, her skin covered with scars. She claimed that the apartment was full of Ferris wheels cloaked in darkness, rotating at high speeds, sucking her in. That she took them apart car by car, and they'd fit back, flawlessly, their sharp edges pushing against her skin until she was inside them, setting out the glassware— a trail of bird bones.
Tara Isabel Zambrano works as a semiconductor chip designer in a startup. Her work has been published in Tin House Online, The Cincinnati Review, Slice, Bat City Review, Yemassee, The Minnesota Review and others. She reads prose for The Common. Tara moved from India to the United States two decades ago and holds an instrument rating for single engine aircraft. She lives in Texas.