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Imagine

I’m looking out of a bleary, vandalized bus window. Any reflections I bother to focus on are textured with the smudges of fingerprints and scratches most likely caused by some key chain or another. The bus groans painfully as it comes to a stop at the light, the motion timidly rapping my brow against the cool glass. I don’t notice. As is typical to most mornings, I’m not thinking of much. It’s early, and the colours of the earth haven’t yet come to their peak. The edges of cars and pavement are still dimmed by the blue hue that comes with such a dim and drowsy luster of blushing daybreak. My mind wanders wherever it sees fit, though seems content enough today just to immerse itself in the gentle sensations of the weary. Of course, it is still remarkably active. My mentality sparks up from time to time, checking up on the body, noting the steady background of mumbled conversations and patchy rhythm of grating gears at each stop, then settles back to my absent gaze once reassured of our safety.

The bus has paused again. My mind is snagged unexpectedly on the taboo topic; suddenly, violently. It is jerked away from comfort, dragged mercilessly and kicking right back to the subject of death. Beyond the window pane, I see him lying on the narrow strip of grass rimmed with a concrete curb that divides the parkway in two. He is on his back, cushioned luxuriously from head-to-toe by the springy turf, peaceful as this morning’s breeze and as dead as a doornail.

My chest clenches painfully, my mind winces and draws back. My entire being recoils, terrified and appalled. I don’t want to see this. I tighten my lips and pull my quavering body and limbs closer into myself, letting my head drop forward despairingly to hit the cool glass. My vision runs blurred and distorted, but it does nothing to move my eyes from him. My eyes are trained wholly and desperately on his broad figure, lids wired open and rimmed with steady panic. In every nerve I can imagine the sweet, delicate scent of the air, the damp and refreshing breeze sweeping through the remains of dew in the grass I feel firmly cradling his build; every sensation he can’t experience himself my imagination is running flush through me as clear as day.
I gulp a breath of stale air to both steady myself and collect my jumbled pulse, and, shocked, I notice his chest rise suddenly. I breathe again, this time with wary intention, and observe the movement. His lips are parted unconsciously and I imagine I can see the air rushing through the narrow gap in a beautiful, pearly stream of life. Realizing how much larger than me his is, I take slow, large and steady breaths, excessive to my body, willing them into his lungs each time. I hear his sigh in my head, tinted so familiarly with the fleshy basics of human life. I feel my blood pumping and can hear his veins course with relief from the fetid state it had been trapped in. His eyes, draped with feminine and thick eyelashes so common in our family, open blearily as I fuel his life. Jeff stretches serenely and stares up at the dawn sky, breathing the living world’s air and taking comfort in its complexion.
At this point, I know that I am lying to myself; and I know even more so how much I wish it was true. Throughout the day, even past this episode, every breath I take is still for him. Every sensation that enchants my nerves is mourned as it is lost on his skin. I am still watching him gaze distractedly into the heavens in the vision fueled by my mind, though with the demolition of my façade the image distorts itself. I am no longer seeing him in between roads outside the bus window, but rather in an unfamiliar, tiled bathroom I’ve only ever seen in my mind. He has a black cord around his throat and his body is sitting slumped against the wall. The other end of the wire is tied a couple of feet above his head to a towel rack. As I watch, I still breathe for him. His chest still rises and falls, but he doesn’t open his eyes. He remains numb to this world. It’s CPR on a corpse. God, how I wish he were here to feel our earth.





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