fiction by Susan Gibb

April 22, 2011

She walks through the chambers of my heart, opening doors, calling out. I feel her footsteps in a graceful tapping, as if she were dancing, one-two-three, one-two-three. For an hour I close my eyes and imagine her riding the river of loops and twists of my veins.

If it weren’t at her insistence, I wouldn’t go through this. Time has its reasons; I’ve led a good life. But she says that she can’t live without me and we both need to fight this together so we once more can dance. I never could, I remind her, but she only laughs.

She was so young and beautiful when I met her. She still is. Maybe it could have been longer–that is, maybe it will be. And yes, I suppose I’m not ready in some ways, to go. It’s the cure that makes it feel worse than the illness. She looks at me now with a worry I take on as guilt. But damn her, she knows that too and I cannot refuse her her wishes, her wants.

Surrendering, I see her floating through me on a boat with an unpretty chemical name. She smooths out the walls as she goes, denying me pasta, potatoes, and rice. At the end of the hour the boat slows, she smiles and nods with approval, stands up and debarks as she once again enters my heart.

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