I never was able to shout to the world this is who I am, but many call me Dora. It's my pleasure, I am neither a girl nor a boy; I am both at the same time. I would never be able to put one aside to ignore the feelings that I have for another, Dora wouldn't do that. I am only 17 years old, but I've always been called mature or an old soul … I'm not sure if “mature” is such a good thing. Sometimes I demand so much of myself, it is as if the rent was overdue, final payment day was here. But, sometimes I feel responsible, focussed, determined, and proud of the road I've traveled. I feel as though I am still walking, albeit slowly after my heart was broken into miniscule glass shards. I can see your brilliance spilt onto the antique wooden floor boards, the sun reflecting your golden, honey-colored glow. It is as if the small window was open to a heart in smithereens, covered in still-warm blood. Pulsing, it screams, leaping in the small footsteps of a still young ballerina, screams and screams, but the window can not be closed again.
My father was my window.
A temperature that is hard to describe, as if the world stopped spinning. Everything seems neutral, straight, squared, and infinite in that place, like Time.
Does time only seem short to me? It is like a shadow that pursues me, and makes my head spin madly, pressuring me to speak and do, and wait.
Be silent and listen!
Do you hear it?
Speak, do, and wait.
Breathe, exhale, wait.
The audience in my head can not clap but one-handed.
The audience continues to stare and I stare back. We sit in that white room saying billions of words with our eyes and I begin to understand, I can feel, I know that we are not identical.
On April 4, 2019, you threw yourself out of a fifth floor window. Without any warning, you took a piece of my heart during your fall. It flew into that room with only one window reflecting your golden, honey-colored glow.
Your cool skin and your heart that does not even beat anymore, meet my warm body and the white blanket covering my black and sweaty skin.
My black and stained skin.
My red skin, dried with my blood, covered in purple bruises from the beatings of lives past.
Your large, cold hand explores the abyss and discovers how beautiful your sadness is. It is like a wingless angel, completely deformed by pain, legs that tremble. It looks so beautiful to me. It looks at me and our souls connect.
We turn and scream.
The wide-eyes of Sadness suck out my thoughts, leaving me empty-minded. They seem to know I can't feel anything. Peace enters my lungs and they find the strength I need to run deep within a forest and throw myself into a bottomless river where I forget I need to surface and breathe.
Inhale, exhale, wait.
And if you could touch him one last time?
Touch his aching body one last time?
It is too late, my dear, it is now your destiny to let him go.
But you can not, can you? You can not let go, you can not let go of each touch and every memory created over a lifetime together. You can not let him follow his path, his tunnel, his destiny.
I run along an infinite cliff of thoughts while the pointer takes a turn around the sun making me afraid of the precipice. I stop, look down, and see people jumping off the edge, people leap without parachutes leaving their fears behind. How do they do this? How can they leap? How are they not afraid? As I leap myself, I think of every footprint on the grass, each hug, every smile. We are distant from one another and we find ourselves alone and lost.
My head hurts.
My legs tremble.
My body refuses all of my mind's commands, and I remain here, looking at your white and rectangular face, your expression of a father in despair, of a father about to leave his daughter, of a father who chose to leave her because he knew she was ready to go ahead alone.
I'm here. Right next to you, you can rest on my arm and cry all you want to. You can soak my blouse in your salty, endless tears, wash my shirt in your suffering, your pain, and your saudade. I have felt my heart crushed like this before.
And if you could touch him?
I am Isadora Santos de Barros, but because of my gender and my sexuality, prefer to be called Dora. I use the pronouns She/Hers and He/His. I am 17-years-old, and I am currently in the 11th grade at Edem High School in Rio de Janeiro. I was born in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.
I began to write because, when my father took his own life, it became a way for me to express the multiple emotions screaming in my head. Therefore, writing, for me, is a way to get to know and better connect with my thoughts. During the Covid-19 Pandemic, I started to get to know who Dora really is. And through my writing process, I try to get across a little of who I am and who I want to be. This made me understand that we are led along a path in life by the following questions, which keep us living and fighting: who am I? Or who do other people want me to be? And what if all of this is a facade? Read my writing and draw your own conclusions about who Dora is, because I haven't figured it out yet. Image provided by author.