As it all rushes forth in and towards my eyes to replace me,
I can’t help but believe that I have still won.
In some brutalist manner I finalize behind the glass.
Smudged colors beneath the water.
The eyelid is frictionless amidst blinking, but if you sit still you can pin down the moment the top meets the bottom. Once you’ve caught it you can hold the line. Hold it for long enough and it’ll freeze a thin plane into your eyes that remains even after you open them again. Invisible but not gone, like clutching a cold metal wire and walking away with a tingly bar branded into your palm.
The blood stands still when you sit.
He does this with his hands too. The segment below the knuckle of each thumb fits perfectly in the underside of the brow, lodged between the eye socket and the bridge of the nose. It lets you massage the slackened skin above your eyebrows, and with both elbows on a desk your head feels weightless.
Two knocks of the padded underside of a fist sounded through the white plywood door. The carpet beyond was white but where I sat was assaulted with blue light from the window. The room deviated from blue and grey only in the slightest hues while in this state.
“Just a second.”
It’s only ten minutes away. I could drive there right now and he would be in his room or in his backyard or out on the trail. His mouth would be small and his brow would be strangling his eyes in a choke hold. And when he saw me he might smile. His eyes might ripple and chirp, or perhaps not. I could drive there right now; he would be there.
Again two knocks.
If he yelled right now I could hear it. I can hear it from here. If I ran out the door right now or if I ran out the door yesterday or the day before that, I could hear him laugh. He could tell me a joke. Had I brought my feet to move I could’ve heard him scream.
The brassy knob rattled and stuck. The wood had worn away from the inner collar and tan aggregate plies were visible in a thick line above the sagging apparatus.
“Dinner’s ready mijo, I can bring it up to you son.”
“I’m Ok, Thank you.”
“Shhhhhh It’s ok.”
“NO NO NO NO.”
“BABY you have to stay in bed, Please!”
“DAD SHUT THE DOOR!”
My arms spasmed to break free of the blanket but she had already sat herself above me with an arm on either side.
My eyes crackled white hot and combusted within my skull. Cold drool and snot ran numbly from my face. I thrashed my legs and I felt hands grasp my ankles and stuff them into the bed.
“Please it’s ok sweetheart!”
The grip on my legs loosened and I pressed my head back into the pillow and braced. I pistoned my legs and squealed.
“DAD JUST GET HER LEGS!”
Her tears fell onto my forehead and I screamed. My bottom lip curled back against my chin and I spewed air rushing past my teeth. My bursting eyes bore through my mothers face, through the ceiling, through the sky, and through the stars. Searching desperately, begging for just one more glimpse at him. I howled into the ceiling; I shrieked the cry of an infant. I belted every breath I had just so he might hear me somewhere.
His eyes and mouth stood still. The room was bleached white by LEDs and hissing. The cot I laid in stood on an albino plane. The air was white and the sky was white, not glowing with righteousness, but fulgent and oppressive. Just he and I.
“Come on, ______ “
I squeezed him to my chest and hung my mouth aghast. He was there but only so delicately that any movement at all may disallow it. He existed beyond me now and so precious and temporarily. It was up to him.
My eyes screamed for him, for begging with my mouth might upset the balance. My brows stretched thin across my forehead and my lips sat limply against each other. Touching the child at all doomed him but releasing my hold did the same; I lay utterly paralyzed. Like a doomed sailors watching their crew drown below thin ice.
He wiggled against my chest and bellowed, and in an instant the room was blue and black. The change was so natural it’s like the colors had so subtly crept in that it escaped me. The cot floated amongst the wondrous tangible indigos, ringing with his cries. The blue didn’t roar like the white did but chimed with the truth.
And so when the levee broke, the blue was drained in glugging dollops. Ending with white just as it began.
He is still here. He exists still, but now only as he once was. Simple. He exists now as a bubble. All of him within limits, cast to the blues. He floats delicately around us, and all we can do is let our eyes howl for him. Stare in terror, and cradle it inches from our palms, too delicate to touch. The infernal drive to touch it one last time persists, but in this desire, we all already know how it feels. In our palms and in our hearts.
Photo Credit: Aaron Almeida