by Simone Person


I have this overworked vein in my head with walls thin enough to shine light through. This is the morning I die, right here in the third floor bathroom practically nobody in the office uses. That vein’s going supernova, but all I sense is a vague fullness between my eyes. I take my time; an expense report's on my desk. I sit on the toilet so long my feet go numb. Cactus needles in my toes crescendo and I have to steady against the stall’s walls to button up.

            Washing my hands, I run into what the pathologist later describes in my report as a subarachnoid hemorrhage. It feels more like horses pirouetting through my brain, my occipital lobe gumming their hooves. Breakfast splashes in the sink and shards of the wheat toast shoved down during rush hour soak my shirt. My knees evaporate. I hit the ground. The department takes forty-five minutes to notice I haven’t replied to emails and missed the afternoon meeting. Professionals come, take my pulse, force pre-breathed air in my lungs. I’m unresponsive. They zip me up and away. Andrea from Accounting cries.

My parents get overcharged on the casket. At the service, they say I'm in a better place, ask why the good die young. Mom holds strong. Dad doesn’t. It’s the usual flavor of grief expected at these things. I’m untangled from people’s lives. My name will be scratched from the company baseball team. The replacement temp will ask if he can burn sage to cleanse the place. My father will put family pictures in the freezer, under the bed, in the closet, saying, I can’t look at that face anymore. They'll get a dog and call it Baby, celebrate its birthdays and buy it a plastic urn that sits on the mantle when it dies. Visiting the cemetery will become a chore. It’ll be years before my mother admits she forgot how my voice sounds, can’t picture the curve of my eyes. Her canasta club friends will tell her, This is good, this is healing.


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