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Against Atmosphere

September 14, 2008

All of a sudden I’m too conscious of my blinking. I don’t know what brought it on, except that I think it was because I was watching television and someone blinked too much and then I thought about my blinking and now that’s all I think about. Am I blinking too much? Not enough? Do I really need to blink? How long can I go without blinking? And then I get a headache that feels like a chasm in the middle of my skull — a split-the-world-open hurt that makes blinking the last thing on my mind and then it doesn’t matter anymore. All I want to do is sleep.

I lay down on the floor, and realize I never realized how soft it is, like, why doesn’t everybody sleep on the floor all the time, why do people even waste their money on beds, all the hours they work for money they have to save and save and then they go and spend it on some mattress that won’t spill a glass of wine when all the time they could just be sleeping on this floor that is so damn comfortable I feel like I will never want to move again. And I just rest my cheek on the cool of the hardwood floor and I just breathe and breathe and breathe and I wait for dark to come.

After I’ve been lying there for too long and not long enough, the noise of the t.v. in the background for some commercial — is your hair soft enough? But I don’t have any worries about my hair because it is in the atmosphere and the air and the space all around me floating like I am underwater. It is a marvelous feeling and I know that if I use that special shampoo they want me to buy then it will just weigh my beautiful hair down.

And then I am floating along with my hair my whole body free of gravity my head no longer hurting and I’m looking up and my ceiling isn’t there anymore so I can see stars and constellations whose names I don’t remember. I’m just reaching out to touch them when I hear the front door of my house close and I look down to see who it is and it’s someone nameless who looks very familiar carrying a bag of groceries they probably want to share with me, and that makes me smile. And then I look closer and I realize that I see me too on the floor, almost I look like a crimson smudge, not from blood, I’m sure because I think I remember my bathrobe is that color.

I try to remember why I was home in my bathrobe alone anyway and I can’t, only I see the person with the groceries has spilled them all over the floor, and they have all the right things for making a chicken soup and I think maybe I was sick? And I want to go investigate except that I suddenly notice that while I was trying to remember things the atmosphere was still slowly sucking me up like pudding through a straw. And I am pudding. And I don’t want to be pudding, I want to be back in my home with my crimson robe and my nameless familiar person and my almost chicken soup. I want to go back —


And that’s when I start fighting the atmosphere and moving against it like I am a combination of a swimmer and a runner and a really pissed off cat. But that steady suck of atmosphere is relentless and I am going up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up — and everything below is lots of dots and I look around and realize I am a part of a constellation although I still can’t remember the name of it.

When I finally feel like the sucking is done and the realization that I’m not going back has finally sunk in, I try to stay angry and I try to be a mix of all the right emotions, like sorrowful and regretful and concerned about what will happen to that nameless familiar person — but I can’t.

I’m up here, a part of this constellation looking around at everything, and I notice I am very shiny. Not like wake up in the morning and still haven’t washed your face yet shiny, but shiny like the sun catches the surface of the ocean shiny and I feel like a deep gold, like, the deepest gold there is. And it is a good feeling.

And then I laugh, because I realize that all that worrying I did about blinking didn’t matter, because I don’t even need to blink anymore, and it wasn’t even that important, but what I’m doing now is even more important then anything ever.

by Darcy Bruce

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