A Shy Girl

Samantha Rivas

I spoke to trees as a kid. I twirled around them like a loud ribbon. The wind was nosy in my one-sided conversations, teasing the trees to talk. At dinner time my father’s usual phrase “Stop being weak” stabbed my heart with a fork. I thought I could make him proud. I spoke to trees as a kid. I gave them my leftovers wrapped in a scratchy floral cloth. They thanked me silently. I couldn’t do this at family functions; not eating Mexican food is rude. My trillions of tios and tias waited for me to greet every single one of them before I found myself playing with my hands in a corner. My family was the wind in grandma’s packed home, always wanting to know more but I nodded my head more than I used my voice. I spoke to trees as a kid. I told them I didn’t want to go to school, but the wind pushed me because I was late. Thirty heads in my classroom turned my way and brushed my cheeks pink, natural makeup for a shy girl who wished to be a social butterfly. I flew to a tree in ninety-degree weather, my oversized jacket, my fleece-feathered wings. I hid my hairy arms every day until high school. Mom didn’t let me shave until I was 15. When I became a woman. When I learned to use a razor the wrong way. I spoke to trees as a kid, to prepare to speak louder for attendance. Marked absent on accident by a teacher who mistook me for a Les Miserables poster. I spoke to trees as a kid and now I blend with the trees standing still and silent for my future daughter.

Samantha Rivas is an introvert with loud thoughts, she scribbles on any piece of paper she can find—mostly on the back of CVS receipts. She graduated with a BA in Creative Writing and a minor in Women’s Gender, Sex, and Sexuality Studies.