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The Sweetest Thing MAG
I guess I was writhing and screaming a lot so now they have me strapped down. I keep trying to get them to understand. “I didn't know what it means. I didn't know what it means.” But they have got my consent on an ash-smelling sheet of paper so thin, thin, so they have me strapped down. Now I know what it means.
In the white hot sizzling eye of light above my eyes is what it means: the next time these eyes open it will be Leelee looking out of them. She said it was an equal trade, a body for a mind, but now I know the meaning of everything. I forgot I was screaming. The throat that is now mine but will be Leelee's is raw and torn by the scream. I know now that it is my soul trying to escape before they can cut it out. Before they begin the cut. They are starting the cut, to cut, cut …
And back to the beginning. We are driving in a car. I am sitting in the front next to Mom because today is my special day. Dad is sitting in the back, and Leelee is laying curled up in her special seat. Her eyes roll and Dad understands what she is saying. He adjusts the oxygen tube that is twined through her face. Leelee is my twin sister.
Today is my special day. That is what Mom said this morning. She said, “Sam, today is your special day. Today you are going to do the sweetest thing.”
I don't know why she said that. I don't know why her eyes were crying. I don't know why there are tiny wrinkles around her crying eyes, or why cars always obey us, or why the world ends above my head and becomes a flat upside-down canvas of nothingness dyed either blue or gray. But now we are driving in the car and the sky is striped in dusky ragged stripes like watercolor. The colors are in soft bands starting with lemony yellow, becoming lime green – just a little stripe of this – which becomes blue, getting deeper and deeper blue, dark, yawning above my head. The road is twisting around like a smooth black snake with a yellow stripe on its back, carrying us on its back to the place where I will do the sweetest thing.
Leelee told me last night, by moving her eyes which were hooked up to the wires and making words appear on the screen, that it is the place where we will become one. I didn't understand what she meant and I was a little frightened so she said, “Sam, don't you love me?” Of course I nodded because she is my twin sister. And she told me we would exchange damaged part for damaged part and we could become one perfect person, like we were meant to be, back in the womb.
In the womb … I don't know much about it, but Mom said I came from there. The tired tutor said it was warm and dark and beating red. Leelee thinks we're going back there. That is where we are heading. She couldn't sign the paper because her fingers aren't fingers but claws, so Dad held her hand and signed for her. I love Leelee. She has brown eyes which are very beautiful. Leelee is beautiful.
Other cars on the highway are passing us. Mom is driving slowly. Mom doesn't really want to get where we're going. The cars are mechanical shells and inside them they are one bubble filled with air. The air is stained the color of the peoples' minds, stained the smell of their bodies, the texture of their thoughts. The bubble rings softly with the music they are playing or the things they say. Before, I didn't know why the cars obeyed them. I thought in parking garages, when parking garages were empty of people, I thought that maybe in the green dripping silence together the cars talked.
This is something I thought before.
It was around the time Mom was talking to the doctor.
We have got there. The place we are going is not red and beating as Leelee thought. It is painted cool and silver-white in the almost-gone light. Fizzing orange streetlights cast strange shadows on the sharp curb. It is very cold out because it is winter. The trees have no leaves because it is winter. The trees look like black veins bearing black blood.
I step out onto the curb. I slam the door after me. My hands are strong and large and warm. They are not like Leelee's.
Dad carries Leelee. She cannot move at all so that is why he must carry her. She has always been like that. She is bunched up like a baby bird. A strand of drool falls out of her mouth. Dad wipes it off with his handkerchief.
We walk inside where there are rows of waiting wheelchairs. We walk to a desk. There is a woman there with brittle red hair. Her face is soft and unformed like someone started molding it out of dough and then stopped because his favorite show was on and he was getting bored. She looks up at us and says something Mom and Dad understand. Now we are in an elevator.
Now we are in a room. They are taking Leelee away. Mom and Dad are crying. The sobs tearing them this way and that before clawing their way out of their mouths. They hold each other and pull me into their arms.
“Sam, you know we love you, right? We love you.”
“We are doing this for you. You and Leelee.”
“Now, Sam, you have to follow them into the room.”
I follow a woman and a man wearing white coats. We walk into a white room with a bed. There is also a silver tray with silver tools that catch sharp slicing shards of silver light.
“Lie down, Sam,” the woman says. She knows my name. “This'll only hurt a little.”
“It's okay, Sam,” says the man. “There's no need to be frightened.”
I wasn't frightened before. Now I am. The sharp slicing shards of silver light cut my eyes. I stumble back.
“Come here, Sam,” says the man.
“Come here,” says the woman.
I turn the door handle, but it won't turn. “Let me out,” I say to the man and the woman.
Now the man is up beside me holding a needle and then he sticks it into my arm. It goes deep and I feel my flesh parting around it, dividing. Now I scream. I scream. I scream but the room is blurring. The white walls and floors and bed and silver tools are blurring like wet paint into one white-and-silver blur.
My body that they want is dumb and slow. I cannot twitch my fingers. I cannot move my feet. The white-and-silver blur of room whooshes past and suddenly I am looking up. There is no pain. They are fastening belts around my ankles and my wrists and my eyes dance with shards of silver.
A soul is not the same thing as a body. It is not an equal trade, it is not fair. I am not so damaged. And Leelee will be the one living. I will be gone. She will be Sam and I will be-
They are starting the cut. They are starting the cut. They are