Aphelion Issue 251, Volume 24
June 2020
 
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Tourniquet

by Theresa C. Gaynord


"And the veils between past , present and future shall be lifted." EARTH, WATER, AIR, FIRE… WALK WITH ME.

She doesn’t know she’s dead!

I had tied a cord securely to one of the higher, stronger light fixtures, making a running noose and slipping it around my neck, kicking the chair from under my wake until I fell forward, dying of slow strangulation.

It was like creeping through a tunnel where a brook must have been, but all the water had dried up so that it was quite dark and silent. It seemed like I was going on forever; a dismal ticket through the birth canal before I came out crying again, blind to the world and twisted between the stillness and silence, invisible among horrid-grinning men and women. I had found another world in between life and death that no one had ever remembered experiencing before. It was as if I had fallen on a dead, cold, star - void of air and the blowing wind. I looked all around, down and round about me, outside of myself. I felt my face whiten and my heart still within me where I knew no peace could dwell. As I clung between the world of consciousness and the world of matter a huge shadow leapt from behind me, darkness flowed past me. I could smell a fragrance, a light familiar scent drifting toward me. The scent clung to my hair. There was a slight breeze and I felt like I was sleepwalking, laying naked under drifting shadows. I, outside myself watching them move. My spirit had the lightness of a bird coasting .

Realizing I had the power to draw back, to stand before the doors that opened wide before me and not enter in, I awoke. For the first time I could see beyond the world of shadows. The past was closed and I could only travel onward.

The choppy waves jerked the ferry up and down creating a fine mist which rose over the river as sprays of water mixed with the heat of the engine. I was drawn to the contrasts and the closeness of the low-hanging dark clouds which seemed to hover directly over me.

From his end of the bench seat on the ferry, a man who can only be described as a vessel of black crystal filled with blood red wine, kept shooting furtive glances in my direction. A sense of foreboding chilled my soul and I shivered huddled inside my coat.

"You have the sight, girl. You've seen her, yes? So sad, her husband was a good man. She was bedridden in the last stages of tuberculosis. She only wanted to end her pain and his grief." The man knelt beside me, kissing my hand with eyes full of tears. Then he calmly got back on his feet and retreated from sight.

This had nothing to do with sleep loss and everything to do with the loss felt by a death.

The ferry pulled to the dock and I caught my breath over the enormity of the situation. The wind whipped up tangling my hair around my face and I stumbled then stopped and turned my attention to the man standing before me as a small crowd shifted, people staring, some gasping with a general sense of fear emanating from their very being.

"She's dead," he said. His height separated him from everyone else, giving him an air of authority.

The gloom of the dark clouds shadowed his eyes that night and I took great strides in finding my way back home.

Turning to the bed where my husband was sleeping peacefully I could see the sun coming in through the window pane.

He felt like an invisible time period in my life. As though he happened years and years ago, maybe even before I lived and I'm just learning now what his presence was all about. I can sense his motions but I cannot remember his touch. I know we had plans, serious ones, future pictures and images I wasn't used to until that hole in my life was somehow fulfilled, fulfilled by him. We enjoyed the water under Rubicon falls. Silence was our first language. Even between the threads of denial, we understood. We experimented. Trusted. Hated. We were honest. Unfaithful. Contradicting. Inside him was my safe place. He paused my life, everyone around me; the traffic, and the noise, all froze and he took my hand and allowed me to step out of that picture. He and I lived on a pause far away from the world. When reality hit, it knocked me clear over the edge where we were left standing. I fell. The wind pushed play and I was back to the life I let go of, and he was just welcoming the life he had yet to begin. Now, I've found him again. New place, new time. Tell me why I am here, missing a mere dream?


2020 Theresa C. Gaynord

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