Do you see her writhing in pain, slithering like a slippery noodle twisting through chopsticks, fingers outstretched one second, curled up, knuckles red, the next?
“No fever? See a doctor, drink more water”
Water made her throat run drier, she could imagine its walls like the floor of an arid, cracked desert that’s long gone, no flood or prophetic Moses could heal it now, for the sun would take away what was given in a second, leaving behind a thirst that would stick to the roof of her mouth like the plastic feeling of dried up glue on a child’s finger.
“Blood in your phlegm? See a doctor, drink more water”
Blood is not news to a woman; blood is a ritual. Blood is the alarm bell that goes off to remind her twelve times a year that she is, still, a woman. Her indifference was a constant, to nosebleeds and coughed up blood, both painless, both signs that the veins that sewed our flesh together are not the work of the finest tailor.
“Headaches, exhaustion? See a doctor, drink more water”
Throbbing, like the first night, except this time there was no pleasure involved, it was everywhere but there, there was no duty-free guilt and no stupid giggle to end the pain. Her head throbbed, her arms ached while her legs went limp in protest and her chest was drafting a letter of resignation. White flags everywhere, strewn all over the bed, crumpled tissues filled with the inheritance of her times.
“Still alive? See a doctor, drink more water”
Not dead yet, beyond it without having passed it. A convenient bubble of nonchalance that excused her from having to care about the living, they were alive enough to care and to protest those who didn’t. She didn’t know when to bring her bubble down, she didn’t know where reality ended and her feelings began, where pain flowed into life and stirred the waters of victimhood. All her smiles were subterfuge, all her screams only rehearsed echoes.
The doctor gave her water and a strange white pill. She lies crumpled under a bed of rust coloured leaves but they say she’s happy now.