Sunday, March 30, 2008

Death by Living

She had come in with their luggage packed. A matching set, on wheels, for ease of transport. There was no reason to believe that things would not go along pretty much as planned- the itinerary had been checked, folded, and placed in a pocket for easy reference. The passport photos were taken, all the right papers were thought of, and clothing had been chosen that seemed appropriate for the expected temperatures. Sure, there was bound to be some waiting times, or inconveniences, maybe some turbulance or a mix up in the seating. But they'd come out all right at the end. They'd exit together at their chosen, mutual destination.

But she couldn't have known. Would not have wanted to know.

Death came at her through living; rubbing the wheels off her satchel, taking the ease out of the transport of its contents. Death came at her in the most unusual manners, nothing like the fine print warnings she had skimmed while planning the journey. Death visited, took, and took, and took, then stole away to leave her gasping; grasping. Yet, in and out she breathed, reaching still for her luggage and moving somewhere towards what she hoped was forward.

And with each visit from death, the absence of what once was left behind something much bigger than what it took away. Each theft left a mammoth scream in its wake. A scream that was as easy to capture and tame as blistering steam from a boiling kettle. It blurred her vision, changed her perceptions, filled the spaces she tried to travel through. It was nothing she had expected. There was precious little in those suitcases for the cold and horrer, burn marks and scratches that death crippled her with. Little there for the ache, the questions, the surprise of the thousands of mini deaths that followed, like the aftershocks of a turbulant earthquake.

The information kiosks kept changing. The boundry lines kept shifting. The escalaters moved up and down simultaneously. The handbook was riddled with mystery, the itinerary obsolete. Agents approached her constantly with offers of remedies, potions, comforts, distractions.

She regarded them cautiously. She found herself wary, dubious, guarded.

And she craved for something more. Something so sure, that when death snatched her carry-on and cargo, this deepness could not be taken. Something so known, so deep, that her destination was something she carried infallibly with her. Something so unswerving that her burns and scratches no longer defined her. She wore them; they did not own her.

She did what she could with what she had, all the while stretching, and reaching out for something more.


it's a gong show... said...

beautiful writing joyce.

esther said...

that was powerful, wow!
thank you...

Crystal said...

life never does seem to go according to plan, does it?

very well written Joyce. I had to read it three times over to process.

Roo said...

well written my friend.
your words hit my heart.

Beate said...

thank you so much Joyce

Anonymous said...

My first thought is of my mom whohad experience of "waiting for death"...and I sensed her dissapointment. Roselle

Anonymous said...

I just looked on your bag site and I swear (and I seldom do)that you are having too much fun...when can I start? Maybe tonight. Do have a most wonderful time with your sisters and I too am jealous since my only sister lives in Kelowna which I wish was a closer drive like Med. Hat.