She hasn’t left her bed for three days. Her hair sticks together. She opens and closes her fingers. She looks at the sad pinkish sunlight that filters between them. She rolls on her stomach and groans. She starts touching herself. She imagines her insides, his voice. Her hands feel slow and charred.
It is Sunday morning. She hears the waves of traffic in the distance. The bell tolls. She hears the muffled screams of children. She smiles, but it is not an honest smile. She is nothing but a glimmering that passes.
Somewhere, somewhere real, there are dunes of white sand and black water. She has seen them. From the kitchen, her tea kettle whistles and steams. She ignores it.
Somewhere, somewhere real, there are volcanoes that just sit there. Maybe waiting. Maybe not. She hasn’t seen them.
There is a lake in here. It is the exact size of her life, blue-green. What she hasn’t touched, drowned, is the real story.
She bites her lip. Her teeth ache. She bites harder, thinks, why bother. She knows where things are. She gets wet and she gets in the rhythm. Why bother, why bother, why bother, it whispers. Why bother.
If he were here, he’d hold her down beside the lake. He’d bend her knees and bend her arms behind her back. He’d hold her head down in the water. She would strain to hear him. She would listen for him like the ocean trapped inside a shell.
Somewhere, somewhere real, they never parted. They live there in a white house made of stone. They live in the base of a dormant volcano. They live at the edge of the forest. Somewhere still, she feels, beyond the edges, smoke is drifting.