by Alyssa Zhang
Issue: Aphelion (Spring 2016)
Someday you will walk into Long’s to buy a pack of tic tacs and it will be ringed around the cashier’s eyes. It will lay thick on your neighbor’s tawny overcoat as he sheepishly waves you hello. At night when your blankets make you sweat and you’ve turned over your pillow more times than you can count it will collect itself into a bundle of inevitability and thrust its grotesque head into the very front of your mind. Yet it is most willing to be swept underneath the anticipation of new years and birthday candles swirling lower as time waxes on.
But then you will see it everywhere. In the loose piece of lead stuck in your pencil but too short to be used. In the shredded pieces of hair that cling to the back of your neck after you go in for a trim. In the magnolias your mom insists on buying every year on Daylight Savings to compensate for lost time (but you know it’s really a distraction from the day dad left). In the tablets grandpa pops in like skittles because he says they’re “good for his mood.”
And it doesn’t hit until you see (damnit what was his name?) the empty seat between the pencil sharpener and your favorite set of braids the intercom crackling the heads drooping time’s whirling coming to a pause.