It didn’t stop the cold aching, slithering, curling its way around my
arms, squeezing to expose a vain, to show that I was still living. I
realized love wasn’t the cure. Life’s dull throb was evidence enough,
to me at least, but you pressed your sweating hands against the
sensitive area under my chin and neck. A stinging suggests that the
results weren’t to your liking as two pointy talons jab the space
between drawing a sharp gasp of air thin plastered lips; the judgment
is those seaweeds shaded in global calm, the rays pricking at the area.
Neither of us say it. My hand moves its way along the chill of your
forearm — where you like to remind (more like show) me the muscles that
I don’t see are growing, until I reach your biceps. Gentle, like a
mosquito landing upon too sweaty skin in the too hot summer air with
too much bug repellent making a home, adding to the appeal of such a
challenge. The muscles underneath your skin flex to impress or perhaps
only in reflex; I honestly don’t know. A smile creeps up within me
though my external features are stone. Is this it? Is this how it is
supposed to be: beginnings with no indications of what comes next?
Admittedly, I do not care in this moment. We both know the end could
be the beginning or the beginning the end, and neither of us would
fight. Moments like these are not the hallmark of life. They  encompass
a slip in time — a slit — between which the big hand and the small hand
of the clock do not meet for a blinding second. I was still living,
though not for this moment; neither of us were in the wrong, but there
is clearly a better answer. A factually correct answer. Your shoulder
blade is where the exploration stops; the hand — my hand — seeks not for
permission to go further. The time for requests is long since in the
past. This pause has nothing to do with emotion. I feel nothing but
the annoyance of life breathing in and out of me. And this pause is
not about physical attention to any harm. This break, pause, stop,
it’s the time in between the big hand and the small hand. It’s the
blinding light seeking attention. It’s the people between 10:55 and
11:00; a place where acknowledgment of 10:56, 10:57, 10:58, and 10:59
are invisible to the population. Their role minor to the end goal.
We’re that space, those people — this pause is the ghost of what comes
next. The talons forcing the throbbing vein into a home spread across the
valley of my neck, reclaiming the invisible numbers as its own —
refusing to allow such an action to go unnoticed. Still we both are
unaware of


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