Ex/pend

Its warm and the air is acrid.

The usual burst of morning sensoria awaits, announcing the day, prying open still sleeping eyes as I walk from one room to the next.

//

I’m so tired.

//

There is an atmospheric stillness that comes before the trauma. Whether a trick of remembrance or some act of extrasensory perception in anticipation of the event, nevertheless it lingers. Maybe it’s because of the acceleration one feels in the frenzied moments that follow, a harried mélange of shock and action, expanding and compressing time into an unrecognizable state.

//

Where the after is terminal velocity, the before is pregnant stasis.

//

And that’s when I feel her eyes on me from across the room. They are wide and full of frenzied fear. They lock with mine, impossibly, as her neck contorts in wild circular fits.

//

Strictly speaking there isn’t anything I can actually do; no medicine to administer, no magic reprieve from the ongoing violence. And yet still I pick her up gently. I hold her against my body, stroking her back in a futile attempt to assuage her pain; an inoculation as much for me as I desperately hope it is for her; an attempt to reign in the ever-mounting anxiety cascading through both of us in waves. But the violence only becomes more pronounced.

//

This is a trajectory toward death, but it is not.

Nor is it life. It never has been.

It is somewhere in-between.

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