I was at the seaside, breathing with the rhythm of the sea. Then I was in the town where we lived until last year, with gardens overlooking the river. I was lying in one of these gardens, and there was a young woman, partly covered in feathers. My belly was filled with soil, like a flowerpot, and she was planting flowers in me.
I looked at her hands, one of them looked like the claw of a bird.
And I asked:
“What is it like, being a hybrid? Is it like being sick?”
“No” she replied, “when you get sick, you had a “healthy” self that got somehow distorted by sickness. But I was born like this, it’s not a distortion, it’s my being. When you are one type of being or another, you have a home in the land of this or that. When you are a hybrid, like me, you live at the crossroads, your only home is your skin, not even that, because even that might be forever changing”.
“Are you a shapeshifter, too?”
She just smiled.
“But doesn’t it make things difficult for you, to be so different? I mean, to relate to others, to connect…”
She laughed. “Well, okay, relating, connecting… let’s see.
Your mother lives in an imaginary symbiosis with a duplicate of you, an image of her daughter who resembles a lot like you in some ways and not at all in others. She gets upset and feels betrayed when you “split” yourself from this image, and she refuses to accept that her fantasy-daughter and you are two different “people”. Relating and connecting, indeed.
And your father. He didn’t really get the difference between reality and imagination, inside and outside, child and adult. You were two kids playing together, or two grownups enveloped in darkness… you were his best friend, his comrade, the only soul who could “understand” him. He didn’t have close friends; the only sibling he was close to, his brother, lived in another city; his mother died; his marriage was a catastrophe… and he was mentally “fragile”. I know he meant the world to you, but you also meant the world to him. And that’s not okay. And it couldn’t work. No matter how hard you were trying. You were a child. Even an adult cannot be everything to another person.