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  • Writer's pictureangietonucci

They Tingle As They Float Through

We were almost exactly the same age, twins practically,

metaphorically. Born fifteen days apart, I came under the

sign of the Crab, ruled by the moon and twice as fickle, she

was a Lioness of Leo, brazen as the sun. And when I died,

a little of her fire went out, I know, because I saw it go.

We’d lived our childhoods a few miles apart, never once

meeting until adulthood. We’d both spent our summers in

the salty Atlantic waves, our winters wishing for snow days

that rarely came. Of all those Virginia State Fairs and Pungo

Strawberry Festivals and Nags Head vacations and school

trips to Jamestown, had we ever waited in the same

restroom queue? Maybe she was the feisty redhead who

beat me to the unicorn on the carousel that one time. Maybe

we’d each bought a cotton candy from that stand at the zoo,

the one by the camels. White Dogwood blossoms. Jet noise.

Hand-cooked peanuts. Tunnel traffic. Emotionally

dysfunctional families. We eventually forgot that we hadn’t

actually grown up together. And when I died, parts of her

died too, I know, because I saw them leave. I was dreaming

when it happened, when death came, and the transition was

smooth, seamless, because I was flying in the dream and

suddenly, I am flying to her, and there she is, asleep in

her own bed, a thousand miles from where I started, and I

think how lovely to dream of her, to be here after so long.

And then a dog is licking my hand, and I recognize him,

the dog that died last year, her dog, now wagging an

ethereal tail and licking my ethereal hand, and I see the

dream for what it is. And I look at her, I really see her there,

somehow sleeping tangled up in the sheets, impossibly

contorted, blissfully snoring, drooling a dark spot on the

pillow, beautiful. And her aura, of course it’s pink, obviously,

the brightest fuchsia, glowing like northern lights, pulsing a

little and sounding electric. And it isn’t strange at all that I’m

here because we always were like magnets, and I realize,

now, that the pull, the persistent tugging, had always been

there, underneath everything, even before we met, but I’d

been stuck, nailed down or glued to the ground, weighted,

tethered. In the morning, the phone rings, and she wakes to

see my number on the screen, and she smiles. But someone

else’s voice speaks when she answers, and I watch as the

light leaves her face. Then her aura dims and changes from

pink to silvery-gray and, at the same time the glass screen of

her phone shatters on the hardwood, so does she. And there

they go, some of the broken pieces, like she’s a dandelion

gone to seed. I reach out with my dead hand to catch them,

but I’m not made of anything real anymore. They tingle as

they float through. I look down at her there, on her knees

on the floor, and I wonder if she can sense the head of the

ghost dog on her shoulder. And I know now that I’ll never

be able to leave her, that this will be my hell, to face the

memory of the day she gave me her heart, her bright eyes

scared but resolved, hopeful that I could be as brave as she

was. To replay over and over the words I should have said

then but didn’t. To scream apologies she’ll never hear. To

finally tell her after all this time, much too late, that yes,

I love her too.

Copyright ©2017 by Angie Tonucci. All rights reserved.

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