“The Cloth Souls Are Cut From" by Taylor Burgin

I believe we are all lucky enough to find ourselves in the company of a few soulmates; some different in purpose and meaning, but soulmates nonetheless--though not in the way everyone might think. Many can go through life thinking they never crossed paths with a ‘soul mate,’ though they might be so focused on this silhouette of someone lined in swarming stars that they miss the electric blue they’ve been swallowed whole in. With this I mean ‘mates’ might not be the right word, but more a soul presence. It doesn’t need to be a man coming to sweep you off into orchids of light pink and gold specks, but maybe just as easily a simple path that led you to something you were always meant for. Possibly even the bad luck that saved you from even worse luck. There are things in this world we don’t plan for or even ask for, but rather are blessed with. Sometimes it might not even feel like a blessing, but either way it brings us to where we’re meant to end up, in this sense of grey light that we might not always be able to see through. We just must trust that the air is pure.

I am still finding it hard to understand things like this (I’d expect nothing less.) My existence entirely is pure faith that I am meant to take each day I am given. My mother never deserved whiskey drowned whips of unbearable composition, or the welts she tended to for nine years too long. But then that could very well pose the question if she never deserved an abusive husband then did she ever deserve the daughter he gave her? I’m biased, of course, and I must then believe the over used cliché; ‘everything happens for a reason’ because I am the reason. Everything I do in this lifetime is the reason she didn’t listen to her maid of honor when she begged my mother not to marry him, or when my grandmother stopped talking to her for years when she said “I do.” My mother was meant to marry a drunk. My mother was meant to fall in love with a leather laid face and a hairy back. My mother was meant to catch his attention, and my father’s guitar strings were meant to catch her pink laced panties as she threw them on his stage.

Though many things were against my brother and I, we survived the odds and all doubts or probing of ‘why’s’ melted into thick red paint. It is who we are and will be; it is in our blood and in our last name. Burgin, the ‘g’ still knots in my throat worse each word he straps onto my shoulders, and all I can think of is my mother. How I’d take this disgust that builds like crust in the corners of my eyes for the years she took of it. He, undeniably, is her soulmate. Though divorce makes that hard to believe, I promise he is. She didn’t know of me, but the poetic excuses she found to validate and absolve the man’s cruelty wrote melodies of my name and she slept to each note.

April Michelle Burgin never deserved her soulmate, but I thank her every way I know how for keeping him in her life for just long enough; for letting him burn her out to charcoaled twigs, break her will with a meat tenderizer, or even just listening to his gargled snores drip from his lips. He was her backstreet road for me to turn on, and she is mine in understanding strong women and that sometimes strength is what we need to simply hold onto faith alone.