Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Crack

“Your favorite memory?”

What was it.

He knew, but he had to make something up.

The real one wasn’t what she wanted to hear.

Seven years old. Tonsillitis. His mother took him to the hospital where they cut out part of his throat with a sharp knife. That felt just like it sounded. But right before, while he lay shivering under blankets, his hair and clothing soaked through, a smell like warm bread—and then, his bedroom had opened up. A crack, something not normal but familiar, like it had always been right there, behind what you could see.  He sat up, thought he might have become naked, felt air on his back. There it was: like a pomegranate, the shiny inside peered out to him, begged him to reach in his fingers, pull it apart. There was a feeling of dripping as he entered, a shivering and spreading. It wasn’t going in; it was inside coming out to him. The inside was colors, but not regular colors. Colors of trumpets and saxophones, colors of music you never wanted to end. Colors that stayed trapped inside of him after the outside went black, tunneled him into sleep.

Someone spoke in his sleep, told him that they would be together again. That this was his destiny. He hoped it was death, that this was where you went. The next level. Beyondness.

But when he opened his eyes, the light was monotone. There was a nurse above him, a spoon, ice cream.

“That’s right,” she said.  “You can have all the ice cream you want.”

It was an even brown, something chocolaty but not chocolate. He swallowed saliva, and the swallowing seared him like a scream.

People sometimes said that nothing was better than sex, or that there was nothing like an acid trip, or that nothing matched the feeling of holding your child for the first time.  He had done all those things, but he’d never seen the other side again.

Probably he’d have to wait until he died. If it didn’t happen then, he was going to be really fucking disappointed.

“When my son was born,” he said.  “The most beautiful day of my life.”

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