My Morning Glory has wiggled her way into my heart, and instead of recognizing her worth, she just treats herself like a charity case.
Even though she isn't.
Fast forward through the year's worth of random details to tonight, to the now, to the present which she so often refuses to live in.
I give her the keys (in an act of submission that so seldom happens) so she can drive. Not because I need her to. Not necessarily because she asks to. More because I want her to, because she made the mistake of telling me she was afraid once and I strongly believe that we don't fear things in this family. Because she is family, as much as she shies away from that.
When she drives my car, I pay attention. Not really to road signs or street lights, but to her.
I busy myself with playing songs that will calm her. I painstakingly weave through eons of iTunes downloads until I find songs that will tell her I love her, songs that will put her worried mind at ease, songs that will show her how much I just fucking get it. Because sometime bar conversations just aren't good enough for that.
I don't squirm when Morning Glory takes a turn too tightly. I just hold on and lean back and soak up her nerves. I try to inhale her anxiety along with my cigarette smoke until we don't even notice she's nervous. If I were insecure at all I wouldn't have given her the keys, I wouldn't have let her rev my engine, I wouldn't have fueled this. But I'm ready, and even though she isn't, she trusts me in a way that neither of us fully understand.
She isn't comfortable with being in charge. She bears this burden so much that it makes my own shoulders hurt. Such a delicate creature shouldn't fret so much. Such a beautiful girl shouldn't be so scarred with insecurity. Such a creative soul shouldn't shrink away from a chance to literally make her own way home.
I softly tell her to turn the lights on. I swiftly caress the windshield wipers into action. I guide her fingers to switches and knobs in the darkness. I don't laugh when she takes her sweet ass time backing out of the empty parking lot. (That part is actually a lie; I laugh excessively.)
Morning Glory doesn't know what I mean when I tell her to go home. I don't mean for her to drive to the place where her mom is crazy or her father left or her loved ones underestimate her. I mean for her to go and go and go until she is dizzy with happiness and collapses in a way that causes an earthquake so riddled with energy that everyone notices. But if she wants to go back to Seffner, that's okay too. Because I love her and I can sit in this passenger seat as long as it takes.
I want to tell her that "home" is not a real place. I want to tell her that home is just where people love you and that can be anywhere, even if you aren't there to feel it all the time. She will scoff and say something self-deprecating and I will remind her that half of my heart is currently in two hours away at Stetson University. And she will shut her mouth and get it because she is the only person to ever understand how much I miss my sister.
Morning Glory asks me where she's supposed to turn with a quiet confidence. "I turn here." It's not a question at all, but she still waits for me to say yes. I once gave her wrong directions so she would have to take the interstate back. She cursed me up and down and I just laughed. Sometimes when you're the driver you just have to make decisions. Right, wrong or indifferent, I just want her to choose.
I don't think she understands yet that there really isn't a wrong choice. I'll be in the passenger seat no matter what. I can take the reins any time, but I want to see how she commands things - or doesn't. I want her to take the wheel and spin it wherever she wants to go. I want her to be comfortable with control. I want her to understand that she is good enough.
And I know Luis is pissed reading this thinking "every time Khylee drives I'm in the back seat, you stupid bitch," and I politely want to remind him that back-seaters don't get dedication blogs. And this blog's about Morning Glory.
She once asked me why she didn't have a nickname yet. She does. She always has. I just didn't know how to tell her that she's my Morning Glory. I only see her blossom after sunset. And when she is content, when she is alive, I fully believe that the moon isn't shining so brightly because of the sun - the moon is just reflecting her. I wanted to make her a flower because she knows that things which don't shift and grow are dead things. And she will get the reference. And now she will hopefully understand that pretty much everything I do is on purpose.
And when Morning Glory drives - like she did tonight - I adore her, even if she's only commanding things because I made her do it. I study her calm eyes and envy her determined grip. Had someone I loved tossed me into a sea of demands like this, I might have drowned.
But I don't dare tell her that she's stronger than me, even now, simply because she wouldn't believe it.
Even though she is.