Five Card Story: try to breathe

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a Five Card Flickr story by Tempy created Nov 17 2011, 01:49:43 am. Create a new one!

flickr photo credits: (1) bionicteaching (2) Choconancy1 (3) Serenae (4) Serenae (5) Serenae

about this story

we walked for the joy of it

asher, david, and i, chasing stars out of hiding and reveling in the movement of everything around us

the sands shifted, the continent moved, the planet spiraled around a moving star

and we existed

by the grace of god, we existed

if we had known what was coming, would we have done anything differently?

when we went back, asher wasn't the same

barked at shadows

refused to come inside when i let him out after dark

when he ran away, they told us that this was not uncommon in such times

what such times? we asked them

you know, these times. crazy, frenetic

dogs, cats, birds, they just can't handle it

didn't make us feel any better at the loss of our sweet boy

david withdrew from me
started sleeping on the couch because our bed gave him nightmares
told me about a warrior woman staring at him from the periphery
she disappeared whenever he tried to see her
really see her

i tried to understand, but i wondered if asher was what kept david sane
david told me that the woman kept getting closer

he was fired when he attacked a coworker

told me that the world was bigger than us, but there were bigger things than the world

she was whispering to him, whispering from the shadows
something's coming, something's coming
it'll swallow us all whole
prepare for it
try to breathe while you can, david
'cause you won't be able to when it comes

i took him to see a psychologist
what else could i do? he was always muttering
and i couldn't watch him destroy himself

they told me that he wasn't going to be able to function without meds
so we got him some meds

and he turned off

stopped talking to me
stopped talking at all

stayed home when i went to work, staring at the abandoned bird feeder in the garden

stayed in the garden until full dark

was this any better than the david from before?

the sky overwhelmed me one morning and i sat with my eyes closed
how could i stay grounded when everybody around me was not themselves? could i still be myself if they were not?
what if i was no longer the same person?

a pipe began leaking in the house and i couldn't find it
the drip-drip was constant and david didn't seem to mind it

i tried to ignore it until the plumber could come out to the house

at night, it joined with the whistling in the eaves to create language
i squeezed my eyes shut, but there it was

try to breathe
try to breathe
'cause you won't be able to
it'll swallow us all whole

mistook an old woman on a city bus for a warrior
wondered if david's illness had taken over me
taken my mind from me

i couldn't be crazy too
somebody had to keep the family together even if two of the members were either physically or mentally absent

adrienne from work told me to take some time off
the stress was getting to me, she said

the next month was a blur
convoluted whisperings made louder when david stopped taking his medication
we stopped watching the news
cut ourselves off

began taking long walks again, preparing

we loved like we'd never loved before
trying to breathe
left the kitchen and its peeling wallpaper

the house with the overgrown vegetable garden behind us like dusty beetle wing casing

david told me he was hungry for everything
i felt it too
gnawing my stomach, nibbling my gallbladder, devouring my pancreas and liver

until i was left as empty as a black hole
open to absorb everything

we had climbed to the highest point in miles
the world stretching down below us

david told me that i needed to look to the sky

it was soulless
the stars we chased so long ago were gone, like the life out of a man's eyes when he sheds his mortal coil

we watched as the darkness began to pull us in
the earth trembled

we trembled
drew in gallons of air

lights shot up from far away
fire sprouted in the sky
fireworks, explosions, missiles

a nuke

all were swallowed, snuffed and eaten milliseconds after they burst
david sang a snippet of the star-spangled banner and giggled, gasping around words
lights below were snuffing out, one by one
no sounds around us but what we made
and those were being swallowed too

his hand tightened around mine
and he mouthed

try to breathe
try to breathe

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flickr photo credits: (1) bionicteaching (2) Choconancy1 (3) Serenae (4) Serenae (5) Serenae

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