Finished 30 January 2017

Published 11 June 2017

gray tree

Sometimes I glance over my hands, and marvel at their purity.

How unearthly it is that in a few decades from now, my skin might be crevassed in ripples and folds, my color deepening. Bones growing light and spindly, unfit to be prodded by pen ink tattoos. That the slender ridges of blue will creep slowly upward, just as time does—over Schopenhauer’s hill of life.

Hill of life.

I often think about that hill. Youth is masked from the treacheries of ancient melancholy, and—history. Ten years was a mirage, only yesterday. I am older each and every day, each and every second of my life. Holes, beaten into my socks from when I was thirteen, that mark on my heel having lingered since eleven. Both fit, indeed.

Isn’t that a miracle?

When I peek over that rise, what will I see, Arthur? I know what I will see. Time will become an absolute reality, and it will burn my hands to a char. My skin will leak the hours, and my eyes will rest upon not much more than a glossy T.V. screen. A book, or two. Outside my window, my gaze will venture upon the world as I—breathe.

My annual blisters are no joke.

I practice my arithmetic daily. I know that if work hard, if I am diligent and sociable, my future will beckon me with elegant, green-stitched arms. Its hands may be a little soiled with time, but it won’t bother me. It shouldn’t bother me. Back to my sums, where I can scratch a pathway to that black hole in my friend’s eye. She gazes across the table, then at me, then at my work.

Does she not understand?—it is a blessing, the whole world being sucked into her pupil. I do my math. She frowns. They are all anxious about tests. But do they know that only weeks ago, a student was murdered? Her young body was dragged onto the top of a hill. In this forest, where my dad and I always go to hike, and catch some fresh air.

A life, withered.

Did she ever think about how her hands may rot under the sun, instead of under the lid of a coffin? A knife beneath her sternum was inevitable. How preposterous! That hill could have grown taller, dear!

But she didn’t know it was coming.

My friend will die soon. Maybe not tomorrow. Or next year. But, someday. I still cannot understand that look in her eye…her focus on the immediate. Math is so crucial, but I find it strange that three days later, no one mentions Sarah’s name, or says a kind word. That poor girl. Her hands—they were crawling with tears, mud, worms, blood.

Her name is not on the exam.

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