You were birthed in fire. The hot crush of darkness exploding into a burst of light and color, before the stone and water, the barren wastes and lush green, before everything considered life. And long, long before the others, the conquerors, who laid claim to everything you had been. Only you. Your long-lost family eons away finding their perfect looks, leaving you alone to sculpt yourself a new image.
Hadean days consisted of no more than overwhelming gas mixing, the idea of formation tickling the edges of vaporous smoke. You wanted to form. You needed existence in the solid, but you just didn’t know how at first. Time helped you to realize a form, something different from the rest of your budding siblings, all yearning to form ideal spheres to reflect the eye of their luminous tether. Their gaseous hides acted as mirrors in the void allowing yourself a view of the volcanic acne popping molten magma across your impure face. Their delicate visages mocked the puckering of brown stone against the salient blue, an ugly checkering above something leaning to purity. Oh, Puberty.
The mush of mass over the pure water congealed into molten skin. Running heat and oozing half-solids eventually cooled. Archaen aging, your intelligent design, taking your pimple pocked face to a smoother, more chiseled façade. Self-made magnetism. The grandest of superficial surgery, a touch here and a pull there to place everything in the proper order. Graywackes and mudstones, a lithosphere to be moved—placed perfection. It was an experimental time in your upbringing. Such is the time of post-adolescence.
You called the look Rodinia, and it was brilliant. Until it was not. One wrong sway on one wrong turn broke the face to unrecognizable. A failure from your tectonic template you worked so hard for. The orogenic genius used to create your appearance needed a couple more tries to find the right form. More large scale looks, Pannotia, Pangaea, inseparable and fully realized. Your naïveté in thinking one is for the best is still laughable. Now you know better.
You split your skin, taking in differences to accentuate beauty in all walks. You found new looks in Laurentia, Baltica, Gondwana and the others. It was in this trial-and-error, the see how-this-will-work era of your existence, when you realized something was missing. You wanted more. You needed to accessorize. Show your worth. You were still young.
Starting with things close to your heart, you let them swim within you, only popping out with a spurt and sputter of seafoam. Like the uneven twinkling of a faux-diamond on your ear, these accessories only came to see the light with the proper turn and walk. You needed to show more. Put them on your skin!
Walking tattoos, immense in size and in teeth and claw; you let them dominate the surface. They were all for show. And you loved them… up until you didn’t. Another epiphany came to when you found having them was the worst decision you had made. You had to burn them off. Grow up.
Let the sky fall on them, get rid of each and every one. It’s not like you couldn’t start again. There are better things than just violent and frightening monsters leaving inked footsteps crushed within your pores. Trade the ‘cool’ for the ‘intelligent’ commitment.
As a rocky exterior cradled by a membrane of volatile gas and heat, it was foolish to plaster your skin with the mindless. You should’ve glammed up with the new high-tech creation—thought-capable concepts, things with a future. Why not let them take care of you? You deserve it. Don’t you?
Let the young things crawl over your body, cover you in their wise ways. Let them build upon you. Build better and bigger, prettier, the flashiest things you’ve ever scene. Your great plates and stones couldn’t have made such an angled wall. Your trees and blades couldn’t have grown so flat, so precise in dimension. How proud are you of your new bling?
But what happened? You cared for them, those accessories. You gave them everything they needed, but now, now you’re older. Now they don’t care. Now they don’t remember all you’ve done, all you’ve been through to get here. Through those lonely days, through an awkward adolescence, through your experimentation with looks and personality—you finally had it right. And then those people.
They’ve thrown you in a home, taken what they could from you. Burned through your atmosphere and forests, razed your mountains and ravished your prairies. They take and take and take and never return anything, not even a phone call. But without you, what do they have? You were birthed in fire. Perhaps it’s time they die in it.
Andrew Lesh is a writer based out of Indianapolis. Currently on thesis at Butler University, he hopes this story strikes the right note with you.