The walls are still. Colored with betrayal in the shades of a presumed future that never happened. The air is even still. Not wanting to choose north, or south, or even west or east in direction. Whether the sun is up, we don’t know because the room faces east but evidence that the sun was up is left in measures of heat that won’t leave the room. At least the darkness can tell us it’s not morning but sometime after noon, yet the stars cannot be seen. Being in the middle of summer, the days are long. Hot and exhausting. Usually sweat soaks your forehead, seeping into your eyes which stings as tears escape the corners of your eyes, and the heat is uncomfortable, making you ravenous with desire to strip your clothing in eagerness to cool the body down, but to even move, your arms feel like lead and refuse to follow your commands.
Lying down, you hope to gather at least some coolness from spots on your sheets that yet to have been touched by the heat of that day. The moment is precious, but quick as the fabric quickly absorbs your body heat and soon damp. From deep within, your chest struggles with ragged spasms and opens to a sigh that hopes to capture relief in cooler air created from the fan sitting in the window. The only thing that brings relief is anything cool to the touch. Everything else is hot, muggy, and discomforting.
You try to stand up, but the weight of the heat seems to drag you back down so all you really can do is roll over to your back. Your eyes sting from the sweat earlier. In trying to dry them, you open your eyes to see your own palms of your hands, looming over you. Slowly you look them over, swollen, sweaty and turn them palm facing the ceiling to see the puffy blue veins popping out in irregular lines. On your left wrist, through the fuzzy views your eyes can barely provide, you notice the contrast of a white object, a piece of plastic wrapped around your wrist. Squeezing away the stinging of sweat and tears, you open your eyes again with more focus and attempt to see the object closer.
Against the white plastic, you see bold black font with an absolution to it that haunts you. A barcode. You read your date of birth. Your last name never seemed so distant from who are. You read the date 6/31/2010.
Suddenly your brain seizes the image before you. Shocking gasps seemingly from nowhere suffocate your lungs. It’s not the heat making you feel heavy and sweat with tears stinging your eyes. The absolution of the silence surrounding you shatters the fog. The room next door, though you can’t see it, suddenly seems right on top of you. It’s empty. Full of baby things. But empty. The thoughts come like thunder, memories raining down from the blackness in the back of your eyes and the pain in your heart illuminates the moment.
All you can remember and for this moment, is the infant you are holding in the mind’s eye. Still. Silent. Beautiful as if they were just in a deep sleep. Tears stain like ice on your cheeks ever flowing, fast, and furious, a river of life.
A future that never came, and the present moment so painful, it scalds you like iron branding every inch of your skin. This can’t be happening you think. It’s can’t. Babies don’t die.
The body holding you down to the bed is obscure, foreign. You’ve had the same body, skin your entire life yet it doesn’t feel right. It has violated you, betrayed you. The grief lies to you, claiming the heat is torturing you. Empty arms feel heavier than the ones holding new life.
Trying to move, there is no connection between your head and your limbs. Disassociated and almost cadaverous, your body has become this useless suit of armor that your soul is caged within. The ecstasy of the pain should incinerate the flesh and yet it somehow holds all together. Slowing you down, preventing an escape from hell, from those sheets that once made you feel safe, and at home. Moving your hands to your eyes to wipe away the sudden tears is a feat of movement. Another deep sigh gives your torso a breathe of life to twist and putting your leaden arms down supported by your hands, you sit up.
Food. You need food. Deep guttural growls find their way out and your brain signals “hunger.” What? Right. You are hungry. But that means leaving the sheets, the bed, the house, the empty room. That means seeing people. They will see your stomach. Nothing there. That means no crying, that means acting like nothing happened. Go grocery shopping when your entire world collapsed into an extreme vacuum of a collapsing star. Literally, nothing left. Except the needs of your human body. Fine. Secondary memory and movement carry your body from the closet where your wallet and car keys hang, down the stairs, and somehow your fingers punch the code to the garage number (even though if someone had asked you, there was no way you could rehearse it back.. who gives a fuck?), and behind the wheel.
IN all that, all you can feel is serration between each breathe in waves of choking and uneven breathing, anxiety, and hesitation. I don’t want to do this. Your stomach answers back, you have to. Backing out, again, the brain takes over and magically you appear at the grocery store. Not the prominent one in town that everyone goes to. And the one you rarely go to because it was too expensive. Maybe you’ll see less people you know.
Getting out of the car, it feels like you are on a boat in the middle of the ocean. The concrete beneath your feet seems to be weaving, giving your knees the knock-knee effect. Dizzy from anxiety, fear, and lack of air because your lungs are seizing up in spasms… you manage to not get hit by a car, drag yourself foot by foot.
A cart by the door saves you. You cling onto it for dear life, a support for the body that you are trying to mobilize. Tears threaten your vision and you squeeze the liquid out in attempt to not lonely look normal but so you don’t achieve some Olympic style throw down because you tripped due to poor vision. Vanity never seems to leave.
Everything just glows in colors, shapes. You almost forget what you came for. Right. Food. Whatever.
In a daze with heavy wet eyes, you cling to the cart just following it along the rows of food that solicit no response from you. You keep your eyes down, to avoid any familiar face. It doesn’t work. Recognition somehow still kicks in and you see a face that you know.
And what’s even worse, is it’s a woman carrying a baby in her carrier. Her face carries a look of “oh crap.. “. She knows. Tears burn your cheeks, your body shakes so hard you for a second wonder how you are still standing. She turns red, eyes becoming wet and she doesn’t really reach out for you, but you are shaking, covering your mouth, tears coming faster than your breathes and choking sobs come from deep within. You want to run, you want to hide, it hurts so bad. An awkward hug ensues and she hurries off. You need to finish and leave as fast as you can. The rest of the outing is blacked out. You don’t remember anything else.