Story by Sofia Rakic
The jellyfish pulses like a plastic bag.
The one that lands in the fingers of a girl with Bambi eyes smeared with drugstore mascara.
A lipstick shade called Rosewood smudged on her chin.
The way the jellyfish throbs, a fetal heartbeat across the ocean, like the streaks of cyan in galaxies across the universe, the bag from 7/11 glowing in the passenger seat and absorbing the soft music whispering from the busted speakers of her radio.
The worst thing that could happen ㅡshe supposesㅡ is that it will be positive.
Yet, failure would be a quiet secret thrown into the bottom of her trash can.
Passing would be confrontation and wondering what to do at seventeen with arms so weak.
Her nails are grossly chewed up.
Her heartbeats so fast, she fabricates a second one thumping right after hers.
Her cells continue to divide and the fish in the ocean never stop swimming. They keep going, even when her eyes blink slow like two sucking sea snails.
The terrible news splashing around her mind, even though not a single infinity is confirmed.
Her fears are tectonic plates that constantly brush and slide together. She’s forming a plan for when they collide.
The car drives on the hands of a god who’d much rather see her wade with caution.
Everything between illegal and unsafe churns within her proximal joints. She imagines the way her elbow will crook as she angles the hanger.
But, she imagines the way her ankles will shake in a pair of high heels clicking down a cruddy, city street. Striding right past a clinic with a locked door and a for sale sign. The belly of a bright blue jellyfish will engulf the sky. His white nematocyst will reach down from heaven and sop up the crisp red puddle, filled with krill and coral, underneath a girl who just pretended to trip onto a pole.
Sofia Rakic is fifteen and attends North Royalton High School.
I’m a ballerina at Cleveland Ballet Conservatory and that’s where I find art. I find art in the infinities of ballet and pushing the body beyond the boundaries. And in ballet, it let me find the beauty in everything that’s unusual and uncertain.
Photo by Amelia Anthony