I only believe in God every second Saturday by Leela Raj-Sankar

but I think they’re the one that always sits down with me for coffee, that puts their not-hand on my shoulder and says, c’mon, you should eat something with that, or you haven’t slept in three days, it’s gonna catch up to you soon. And even though I pride myself on being a good, practical, head-screwed-on-right daughter, all I want is for someone to put their arms around me and say you know what, it’s okay, you did your best, you tried so hard, that’s enough, you’re enough. But if there’s no one there, I think the sunlight coming through the shutters counts, too; I think the birds clamoring to be heard in the trees count, too. Look, I know I was an ugly, bitter, terrible child, but this feels like a second chance, like maybe I didn’t fuck it all up too badly—if there’s no one looking out for me, at least I can pretend the universe is! At least I can pretend there’s someone waiting for me with a smile when I get home; I can name my want a blessing and love it in the same way I love the sound of my friends’ laughter or staying up late enough to see the sunrise. Look, I know I was an ugly, bitter, terrible child, but this is a second chance, and if you’d let me, I’d hold you like you were the whole world, too. I’d love you like you were a religion, too.

 

Leela Raj-Sankar is an Indian-American teenager from Arizona. Their work has appeared in Mixed Mag, Warning Lines, and Ghost Heart Lit, among others. In his spare time, he can usually be found playing Scrabble or taking long naps. Say hi to her on Twitter @sickgirlisms