“You feel like dying?” Sarah’s angelic voice makes me regret my confession.
“I feel there’s a knot growing in my gut and I’m barely breathing. I’m tired of gasping for air.” I mean I cannot explain it any simpler. “I’m tired of the pain. This constant pain in my stomach. I want to go home.” Paralyzed and glued to the mattress, I lift my pinky to annunciate my point, but I fail majestically as my stone-like hand collapses in maximum gravity to the magnet of a mattress.
“I love your hair like that, parted.”
I don’t understand Sarah’s random declaration, has she not heard what I just said? My painful cry for help, but it doesn’t matter. My voice has shriveled over time and almost a mute, I simply grunt to carry my point across. Always I manifest the argument because Sarah’s meager eyes state her case otherwise.
“You used to like it when I brushed your strings of hey. You used to say that, ‘strings of hey’. I always hated your self-deprecation. It’s not a temper one thrives in.” The brush of her fingers against my paper-white skin, “I heard you. I hear you.” Finally some indication of the sense of hearing. I thought for a moment that Sarah has become deaf, but she has revived my hope.
The tugging of words, thoughts, and emotions has left me exhausted within this battle. Screaming isn’t enough anymore. It has become less of an answer.
The burden of a crossway between loving something and hating it at the same time. Wanting to live and willing to die. Both cannot exist concurrently but they dwell within me without much of a measure. Drilled like his fingers drilled into my skin. ‘The scientist’, he called himself and I was his experiment. One and only. Why do I always remember the dreadful things and forget the smiles? But his smile I remember, maybe because it’s accompanied with dread. He ripped the button of my blouse with his teeth and laughed as I searched for a gap in his hold to escape. But, his hands like a noose gripped my neck and I stopped wriggling to regain my ability to breathe.
Breathe. Such faint whisper but the act sustained me.
Breathe. And I remain fighting the structure of life, my wake and my sleep.
My words lift Sarah and she smiles, welcoming me back to life. “No need,” and with a glance away then an abrupt return to greet my eyes, “I hear you.” The much-needed echo of her sentiments translated to ‘Don’t let go. Don’t give up. You’re needed here.’
His grip loosens and fades as another bad memory. His hurdling dark laughter dissipates to a waning rain because Sarah’s smile is the only force that remains. Keep it. Hold it. Catalog it and stash it for later retrieval.
© Jacob Greb — 2020
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