by Abigail George
S. talks of suicide.
She cries. I hold her. What else can I do? She’s the love of my life and she’s in pain so I make her something to eat. She tells me she doesn’t deserve me. That she can see she’s hurting me. I say she’ll feel better after she eats something.
What was she thinking, she asks later, when we’re watching television. How can she do this to me, she asks. I tell her to forget all about it. Like it was the first time she said she would take her own life.
Like I’d never heard her reasons before or read her journal. Like I’d never driven her to the psychiatrist. Shrink’s crazier than me, she said. Never going back there.
At night, especially in winter, the pavements become rivers. The streets become streams lit by moonlight. Windows turn into mirrors that we can see our soul in. We argue but I still want to touch her. Touch the story on her lips. The singing in her fingertips. The promise of her. The fine thread of her.
That independent winter-branch. Wild geese calling. The origin of her hair was an autumn forest. Gold and volcanic-red and rust.
I want to fall asleep in her arms and wake up to the sound of winter rain. Listen to her read sonnets to me. I want to tell her about my childhood cousins. My uncle’s swimming pool in Johannesburg. Eating peaches. Peach juice dripping down our chins.
I want to touch her graceful neck, each of her vertebrae. Her loneliness. Run my fingers up and down her spine.
I want to sink into her country with absentminded blessing.
I dream we’re taking one of our drives to the beach on a lazy Sunday afternoon. We walk hand-in-hand on the warm sand. Afterwards we’ll eat picnic halloumi cheese or hamburgers and drink pink milkshakes. Watch the waves from the car.
She smiles. She laughs. And I tell myself that I know nothing yet of the heartbreak that will follow.
Award-winning short story writer South African Abigail George is a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net nominated, European Union Poetry Prize longlisted, Writing Ukraine Prize shortlisted, Identity Theory’s Editor’s Choice, Ink Sweat and Tears September Pick of the Month poet/writer who believes in the transformative, restorative, and healing powers of words. Her latest book is the poetry collection Young Galaxies (Mwanaka Media and Publishing, Zimbabwe).