Jan/Feb 2014  •   Fiction

How She Was Raised

by Cheryl Diane Kidder

Image courtesy of the British Library Photostream

She had no idea she had grown up like a bee in a glass jar, beating her head on the glass at every turn, feeding only on what was given to her, understanding freedom and will to be the distance from one side of the glass to the other, deafened by her own humming, incapable of hearing the rush of wind, the beat of rain, of feeling the softening heat of sun leaking in through the holes in the top of the jar.

She had no idea of time, space, and distance. How could she? All these things were defined for her, solid and unchanging.

She had no idea there were others out beyond the glass, out there in the air and the sun and the rain, lifting themselves up off the floor, learning for themselves what feet and wings were really made for, coming to learn the many vocabularies and languages beyond the persistent hum and the buzz.

She had no idea the strum in her chest was more than this glass jar could ever hold, that what was happening day after day, season after season, would require her to figure out how to open the jar, would demand she find her own strength, would insist she come up with a list, a selection, a bouquet of desires only she could define.

She had no idea desiring things, experiences, landscapes, and emotions would ever be a place where she might live, that there was anything really beyond the endless circle of glass that sometimes reflected back to her a delicate creature: blonde, long-legged but with bright eyes, new skin, never touched—and something else, something she had, as yet, no name for. Something she wished desperately to understand and call her own. Something shiny, brilliant, blinding. Something she could pull to her chest and hold so tightly, it might become her own forever. Her hope, her future, her life.