She makes no move but feels around inside, where the rib cage grips her insides, holding insides inside and making even more space inside for refreshing the stale air inside her lungs. The dried coffee that splashed out around the dashboard, evaporated already. The midday drumming of helicopters overhead making heatwave vibrations, a bullseye like a stone thrown into the shallow end lapping at her toes - tired, and resting on the accelerator. Not moving. Not pressing. Just resting.
Her toes on the accelerator, dangling in the deep end. There’s a fence on three sides so no one can sneak up behind her to push her in. She can ease herself in when she’s ready, not head first but by straightening her arms, lifting herself first up off the rough concrete that has left impermanent pockmarks in her flesh, and then down, over the edge, slipping quietly against smooth tile, into the deep end, into the quiet.
Even though everyone’s dead, everyone who was ever attached to that pool, maybe there’s still a way for it to be ok to hop that fence and ease into its kidney shape, with the bench hiding underwater, where it’s only three feet deep in the shallow end, where it’s shaded by pine trees, where anyone could get into if they were willing to hop the fence and answer a few uncomfortable questions.
It would be ok - Ok like the refilling my coffee cup when Dorothy’s back is turned. Ok like not speaking to my cousin who is an atheist. Ok like packing all of my things and walking out of work, leaving behind a pink sticky note on my computer screen with the words ‘I quit’ right above a little smiley face. Ok like laying on top of my grandmother’s grave and crying and falling asleep and searching the purple sky for why she never told anyone the truth.
Sometimes the truth gets caught right above the rib cage, right above the little pocket of refreshed air. Sometimes it’s easier to let him beat you than to have to search around for the words, and hope that someone is willing to listen, and hope that they will actually listen, and hope that they will understand the words formed by the vibrations that shape the stream of expelled air getting pushed out of your ribcage as they drop from your lips, like stones into the deep end, too deep to dive for, too deep to see.
There might be the truth of a star, a bigger, brighter star, that is blotted out by a smaller off-set star that happens to be positioned closer to us here on Earth. Seeing what she saw doesn’t mean that her truth never made it out into the air. It’s possible.
In the dark sky near the pool, the whole star-shaped truth collapses on itself, leaves her favorite platonic solid spinning in space. Six nodes twinkling from the edge of creation, hits her eye just in time to send a tiny message back.
Softer now, a mellow knowing, from the spot where the skull never quite hardened over, beaming up and out. Her feet in the grass by the grave. Not moving. Not pressing. Just resting.
Sensing the truth is easy, like reaching out for the gilver knob of her grandmother’s tube radio, grasping it with fresh-licked pudgy fingers and feeling its hefty metal action give with rotational satisfaction, the tomato red frequency finder following down the notches, so much analog crammed into each digit, the static giving way to crackles, giving way to voice, giving way to meaning.
Created in residency at Liminal
Sarah Elovich is a writer and performer based in Oakland, CA.