Confidence is my chin jutting up slightly, muscles moving so slightly you don't see the muscles anymore, you don't see me do what feels like a smirk and a grin unless you know to watch my mouth. You just see the gleam in my eye, the welcome of the challenge.
Regret goes the other way, my head jumping back along my neck, my lips and cheeks turning into an invisible genuinely remorseful frown, my eyes tensing back in their sockets. But all you see is I draw back, my eyes turn hurt at my own ill actions.
Resolute is my teeth coming together and making the world's quietest clack, not even as loud as my bones cracking, my my abdominal muscles clenching without any feeling in my stomach, my body twitching closer to itself, tensing to spring or to strike. You see a line in my jaw; you see my hands clench into fists and my lips and chin turn down, if you are attentive you see my footing change.
Flirt is a smile, a little twist to my body, a genuine laugh and interest. You see my eyes sparkle with interest, you see my clothes shift, you see my hands move in a gesture even I don't notice.
Bittersweet is a twist at the mouth, a smile that reaches the eyes but doesn't touch them as a smile should, just turning them too sad, feeling something being lost as something else is gained. You see regret and knowledge, recognizing growth.
Hope is a true smile, everything goes up, my head, the corners of my lips, my cheeks, my body, my heart. You see my sparkle, from toes to scalp.
Despair is everything hope rises falling. I slump, I stop smiling, my shoulders drop, I look down. You see the air leak out of me.
Daydream is everything at angles, head this way, chest that way, arms bent at odd angles, on leg stretched and one bent, or both, or neither. You see me leave my body.
I feel; you see. You react; I see. I react; we continue.
Christmas is pine and fresh boxes, new plastic smell and metal touch, blue electricity that you find when you don't look, home and family.
Halloween is pumpkin pie and jack-o'-lanterns, mixing with the smells of home as everyone in the family gets wrist-to-elbow deep.
New Year's is laughter at the oddest things, traditions and traditions of starting new ones, staying up too late and making as much noise as you can with clackers and whistlers and bubblewraps we've saved through the years.
Thanksgiving is gravy, turkey, pumpkin pie, orange and brown and little accents of black that always show up for one reason or another. A napkin, a dress, a decoration, some early Halloween or something else.
Holiday was holy day, and sacred still.
I am myself, a singer and a writer and procrastinating and staying up too late and losing myself and finding her again. I remember not knowing I was a singer, and feeling so lost. I remember figuring out I was. I remember the talent show, when the night was mine, the day after, with Mr. H and the whiteboard, and getting out of running. I remember requests of boys and getting me, I remember getting told to go away, encouragements, and getting no reactions at all. I remember love inside my head and out. I remember figuring out the words for myself, after finding out the idea, long after. I remember my first shot at really writing, I remember the escape, I remember figuring out why I chose the name. Caydo was love and home, he was Cadence, coming to a place I knew the music fit. I remember finding those who were so different we couldn't get along, so different we had to, so similar we tried and bounced away and sprang back, so similar we even had the same plane and slope, no more than an inch apart but never touched. I remember the wadded-up pieces of paper and the tennis balls, and laughter at or with. I remember the insults, and finding out which ones were false. I remember figuring out which colors go with which, and still not knowing for sure with shoes, or socks. I remember learning to read because of a teacher's insult, her challenge. I remember when I've really cried, and when I've set myself free. I remember being passive, and I remember feigning it. I remember. So much. Kindergarten, exceptionally good but I didn't know it yet. First grade, exceptionally bad but I didn't know that either after a while, so many knew how good kindergarten was. Fourth and fifth, getting my challenge. Sixth, honor choir, school. Seventh, history with Ms. W, but math with Ms. DeW. Ninth, district. Tenth, district, state, regional. Eleventh. Sixteen going on seventeen. Fifteen going on twenty-five, always mistaken for five years or a decade older. Just being myself, not my age. Who I am, what I am, what I know, what I knew, connections I remember, hope, always, always hope. Even in the middle of tears, hope. Without hope was without tears, was just unbearably passive. Pushed around. Building up my skin to keep the anger inside, keep the knives in and out, then learning to let those shields down when I wanted to.
Life. Piece by piece, step by step. Running, jumping, dancing to somewhere where I can taste the air getting sweet and feel the shivers run through my spine.