the stuttery interval between two realms

by Gisella Gianina

(The stars rained down on him with full, burning force.)

His true love disappeared four years into their relationship, and never came back.

The man hadn’t seen it coming, nor had he felt anything akin to suspense. All of a sudden, his true love became the empty spot on the couch in their living room, the faded picture on the fridge, the neglected red shoes by the door. No matter how one looked at it, four years against a lifetime was too much. It was cruel, and the man began cursing the universe at a very young age.

Predictably, everything went downhill from there.

The stars rained down on him with full, burning force. His lungs suddenly felt too small for his body. Falling asleep became a chore. His concerned mother who came to console him did a double take when he answered the door. A proper reaction of one in the face of a real life zombie.

She whispered a pitiful “you okay, Son?” even when they both knew the answer. He willed his limbs not to melt away.

Her touch against his cheek was careful and fleeting, while the dark shadows under his eyes loomed over pale fingers. When he closed his eyes, he pretended his true love was the one caressing him instead – softly and lovingly, smelling faintly of lilacs and cigarettes. An odd combination, yet addictive, distinctive, familiar.  Yet he only smelled his mother’s body wash, the fragrance too clean for him to act like it belonged to a specific someone.

And it was not her fault – never her fault, he didn’t even know anymore who he’s referring to or who was to blame – but it still felt like being tossed and turned in wild ocean waves and his heart sank upon realizing she was not his true love, the only one his blood roared in desperation for.

(He wanted to die.)

That night and many nights after he laid with his eyes vaguely trained on the ceiling, feet bound to the bed by the weight of his flourishing anguish, which had seeped into his skin – and then bones, and reached his trembling soul. The last thing he did was wonder how many moons would it take before he, too, could fade into the hollow navy sky.