all at once | a short story in her presence

She didn’t have her hands anymore. When she ceased to exist in her body, she turned into all the colours and reflections within a splash of water, bursting, stretched across all lights. She consisted of all senses in one, what she was now was everywhere around her, now visible, intangible, moving across human lives. And when she pirouetted into the air, she felt like breath, not to inhale, not to exhale. She wasn’t alone. The sensations around her conveyed to her that they were there with her, a vague idea of a face, a name unused, the essence without clothes, shoes and belongings. Who had they been all this time without their bodies, she wondered. How did she recognise them without their gestures, voices and vocabulary? She knew who had shown up by her side, but then a part of her called for her attention behind her back, underneath her.

Her body lay in the grass. She thought that her eyes looked at her. They seemed to look alive, nobody had closed them yet. Nobody had discovered her yet. It was as if she was waiting for the stars to appear in broad daylight. But she didn’t move, she didn’t breathe, and she was hurt. You wouldn’t see that from afar, you had to get closer, to her, to what had happened, but everybody was busy and too far away.

A stream still connected her to her body, she felt it everywhere, everything you couldn’t touch within her was drained into her now, her memories, her images and the infinite range of feelings that she had collected. The pain her body had suffered reverberated within her when she looked at her wounds. It had been lethal, but she could feel the extent of it now without consequences. She saw that tears had dried on her cheeks, that parts of her face were broken, and she said to herself that it’s okay, that she was sorry and that it was okay now, and she stared into her own vacant eyes, the dark dead green that was brightened by the sunlight, and she started to mourn her body, the death of it, the destruction of it, the loneliness of it now, and who she had been on earth.

Something that had been terrible to her in the world had been stripped from her now, her thinking was clear, her feelings were pure, she felt unstoppable, but she was invisible now and her story had been told and concluded, came to a halt. That’s when her desires and dreams flooded back into her, because they belonged to her alone, and she suffered then and there, she looked at her hands, her legs and her face and knew, all of a sudden and too late, that she could have created her own world the way she wanted to live, but she had believed that she had lost the power over her own life. Her dreams sparkled along her silhouette, a rosary of tears, enveloping her, and she wanted someone to find her, to take care of her body, to shelter her.

She hovered, full, her head in the clouds, warmed by the cool sun, part of the wind, a whistle amidst the cityscape, and the vague faces reappeared around her, and below, on the ground, a woman screeched for help and hid her child behind her back and told him to close his eyes.

As she held that woman’s scream in her heart, she found herself timelessly in all rooms with her family, across different countries and time zones, and upon hearing the news, their shared loss poured into her, the tears heavy around her sleeves, evaporated and all she could smell was their love everlasting and she felt whole at last, but for her family, her mother, especially, it was the complete opposite.

My own drawing © Laura Gentile 2022 | Instagram: croque_melpomene


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