Memories of an illness



The nerves will not be still.

No, not even in the deepest, fathomless hours of day, new born and dark, time of shape and shadow, no tale yet spawned to drain all thought and heart away.

Relentless burn, torpid crawl of scarlet. Piercing strike, fierce, spontaneous and fleeting. No coherent thought: thick, smoky fog of dread and hurt winnow reason from sensation in dark of night.

For the body remembers.

Transfuses a tincture of those former days and all their wretchedness from some secreted organ, imperceptibly, into the soul which shivers, then, in those dark hours of the day. The sun rises, but not so the heart of the one who can trace again the shape of dread, of solitude and torment marking each new day with shadow and proximate depletion.

In the days when nerves seared, the weight of air could bring a tear, and the weight of tears was too great for a hand to grasp.  She was then a stranger set to roam among the loving and the mean alike, each with ready access to bestow or steal some dignity to her.  She was too weak, or too much made a stranger, by so many gleaming strangers, to discern the loving from the mean, weakness from dignity.  In the nights when sorrow coursed through her, her dreams an endless tumbling through space, avoiding arrival,  the destination: despair.

There must have been the months of June, sunlit Sundays conferring perfumed air, lustrous landscapes, verdant fields and animals at play.  Wide beaches, no doubt, allowed buoyant children shrieking at cascading waves on newly sanded shores. Midnight rainstorms, spilling coolness from the sky after overheated hours, dramatic flashes of silver light and drum-roll far away. Surely, there were vital summer days and nights in that unfathomed time.  But the body has not etched a map. The mind  has  no recall.

And so the dread.

She feels herself  in time and space, with heart and mind and body, celebrating each new day, each June, each  sunrise, each rainstorm. The scarlet streak, angry, like a mark of shame, screams the termination of these things. Will she be the one who embraces June or the stranger dreading day.

The question comes.

Can she be a body burning in agony, in the gentle glory of the sun?

Sapped and spent beyond imagining.  Too rare a stranger, in an even stranger world.

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