Still waiting

Wake up.

Just wake up and come back, would you? I can hear you, when I’m sleeping. I can hear you when I dream. I can almost taste you, the kisses that weren’t ever ours. You’re not far, but it’s world away while I lie here, remembering things out of order. She had starry eyes and she told me that it would always be this hard. That no matter what it would always be this hard.

There would be good, and there would be bad, but it would be hard, and I had to pick — I had to pick now.

I thought if I brought the building down around us, I thought I’d be able to escape. I thought I’d be able to get free from the monsters that came in and took away everything we loved.

I don’t want it to be hard. I don’t want it to always be hard.

I didn’t ask for this.

Why won’t anyone listen when I try to explain that I didn’t ask for this?

They listen,but they talk back, and their responses have no sympathy, only scorn: none of us asked for this. But some of us are grateful, and some of us are whining, puling children. Some of us know what to do, because we care to think about it, about something other than ourselves.

Some of us are just selfish.

So now I’m waiting on you, and any second, I’m sure I’m going to drown, so please hurry.

Wake up.

Please.

What It’s Like

Something is rising up, a tide of sick that never crests at the throat, never crosses the tongue, is never allowed out.

It swells and swells, a gorge that threatens but refuses to be purged. It lifts heavy chains, anxiety, agita, palpitations, dread, and settles them none-too-delicately around the neck.

Breathing becomes hard. All is gasping.

Eyes sting, water, well, run, these are tears, tears that only serve to compound the inability to breathe.

Hands flex, clench, grasp, reach, struggling to lift this feeling.

Legs move, as though ready to run, to flee. Have to get away.

From what?

What is this horror that has come up from out of nowhere? What is this terror that sits in the belly, a cold fist that slickly squeezes the guts, churns and twists until all thought of contentment is driven off, replaced by an inability to feel either safe or at the very least prepared for the nameless shadow that is coming.

Today

Yesterday, it was all business.

Tomorrow, it will be all business again.

Today, however, she puts her feet up, drinks her milk, watches telenovelas, and reads the same paperback she’s had for the last eight years. She smokes cigarettes down to the filter, and she eats leftover Chinese.

Today, the cat is allowed to sleep in the bed with her.

Today, she puts on mascara, and then washes it off, laughing.

Today, she orders a second cinnamon bun, and leaves it in the hands of the angel that stands guard at the headstone.

Today, she leaves her boots untied.

Yesterday, it was all business.

Tomorrow, it will be all business again.

Today, she doesn’t touch the gun; she never touches the gun on her day off.

Professor of the Future

He woke when the timer carefully installed in his basal ganglia sent a burst of neurotransmitters into his grey matter. The mix, including caffeine and nicotine as well as a bunch of other fashionable alkaloids, flooded his neurons and then settled to soak his cerebellum.

He peeled himself out of the ShowerSheets and then turned on the bed’s self-cleaning function. In only a few moments, the cells he’d sloughed off in the night, the hairs, the day’s dust — everything — was vaporized and vacuumed away.

He dressed in a flawless new suit that faintly changed color to suit his freshly exfoliated self, and tapped a quick rhythm against his temple to refresh the caffeine burst.

By the time it wore off, he’d be halfway through directly uploading his recent essays into the malleable brains of his top grad students.

Teaching was his favorite part of the day.