Excerpt #2 (1000 Deaths)

Burn injuries are not like a broken bone that once healed, can be concealed by flesh. There is no place to hide, no protective shell to retreat beneath. Four days from this writing, July 4th, will be my 19th burn-a-versary.  There are many deaths from burn injuries: 1000 surely seems exaggerated, unless you are the burn survivor. Below is another excerpt from my story:

sky lights space dark
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

A machine emits a tone, flat and hopeless.  The never-ending pain engulfs me as an ocean-wave swallows a tug boat. I flutter like a blue-bird and I gain a bird’s-eye view while I watch my body convulse beneath nurses and doctors, frantic, scurrying like a horde of bees, blue and white.

A tiny beam, the width of a pen-light, shafts through the ceiling and I move toward the light. Someone yells clear!  I back away, drifting through the stars until I shudder back to the room, shrouded in black, cold air, and am resting on the pillowy mattress of  the bed.  I think I hear the crowd release the breath they have held in, or is it my own?

The night sky surrounds me, and a glow brightens as stars begin to rise. Suddenly, one rises beneath me and lifts me high on its beam. I am fringed in majesty. The warmth of light surges, begins to melt and meld me as I fold inside out like an elephant-shaped origami. The elephant sinks into nothingness.

A star glides, slow and sure, behind me until it circles around my left and is facing me. Two beings, transfigured, and perched atop the star engage in sober conversation. I see the Maker of the moon and I hear the voice of Job.

“Quash the day I was born.  Delete it from the books. Rescind the day of my birth, bury it in deep darkness, shroud it with the fog, and swallow it by the night,” Job laments.

“Can you stop the thunder with a shout like I can? Or can you pull in the great sea beast, Leviathan, with a fly rod? Can you lead Behemoth, most powerful and magnificent of all beasts, by a tether like a lamb such as I?” the Moon Maker asks and adds, “Show me your stuff. Let’s see what you are made of.”

I awaken to a darkened room, empty. I hear the rhythmic whoosh of the ventilator at my side––my lifeline­. I close my swollen eyelids and return to the stars.

silhouette of trees and mountain under blue starry sky
Photo by Sindre Strøm on Pexels.com

 

My Little Town––My Earworm

My father, 81, still lives on the property he acquired from his father in the mid 1950s. I visit him on a weekly basis, typically Sunday afternoons.

On my most recent Sunday visit, I decided to listen to some oldies, via Pandora, on the Simon & Garfunkel station.  My current town is about 20 miles from my childhood home, so I was enjoying quite a few oldies and the pleasant memories associated with each song.  As I turned into the long drive way, “My Little Town” (Simon & Garfunkel) began to play. That song has earwormed its way into my head for the past week.

A midweek visit was necessitated–– Dad needed my help with some banking back in my little town. Coincidentally, “My Little Town” repeated in splendid reverie, as I turned onto his little lane.  As I wailed the lyrics of the chorus, “nothing but the dead of night back in my little town,” my curiosity compelled me to Google the lyrics to the full song. (I’m a lyrics kind of girl.)

I was stupefied to learn that for the past 43 years, I’ve been belting out incorrect words. According to lyrics.com, the correct lyrics read “nothing but the dead and dying back in my little town.”

My bad.

Dead and dying seems to be more appropriate of late, as in the past two years my little town has lost my mother and three aunties, two of whom I was especially close to.

The lyrics of the song seems to imply nothing productive comes from their little town: whereas, my little town has lost four bastions of strength, grace, faith and character.

I prefer to keep my version. Maybe its born from habit of 43 years. Maybe it’s plain stubbornness.  So, I’ll keep on keening “nothing but the dead of night” safely within the confines of my little black car on my way to my little town.