I must have been at least eight years old when I started playing doctor in my garage, using long gardening tools as skeletons and drawing scattered veins with colored pencils on sketches of the human brain. I used to set up little name tags on the floorboards. My parents had a plastic bin full of sticks to help the plants grow straight that I used as pointers, attacking each ventricle of this made up heart with detail. I'd examine my imaginary person and tell the entire classroom just how to fix them up right.
Now, I'm twenty one and I must have tried to fix you up at least ten different times. I molded you with my hands like soil, nurturing you with soft kisses and coffee in the mornings. I'd even try to pull your nightmares out from the roots, tie up the frayed ends, and throw them into the compost. I used my own spine like those pointers to help you grow up straight, grow up different than all the memories you'd blurt out like bubbles when trying to breathe underwater. Memories like falling asleep accidentally on the bus just to be awoken by the driver back at the station, the way that pity candy bar must have tasted as you waited in a nasty plastic seat for your mom who wasn't even worrying. I tried to dissect you from the outside in. Read your body like it was directions, but I'm still just a kid in a too big overalls playing doctor out in my garage.
You are bigger than the pretend desks with the broken pencils inside. You are more fragile than the yarn that I would loop around my neck like a fake teacher's badge. You have way too many pieces for me to count on a skeleton, but if you let me I will try to memorize them all, label them with sidewalk chalk, put them together again with Elmer's glue. If you let me, I will let you slip on my nostalgia like a patient's gown, let you relive a tiny moment of the childhood that was stolen even if it's just for a little while, even if it's just pretend.