This Is What Death Does
– Poetry by Kate Solovieva –
That time you are eight, and you trip crossing the road, and almost get hit by the oncoming traffic. Your mother yells at you, and you hear the animal in her voice, shaking with terror, not fury.
That time you are twelve, and you cut your left thumb with a kitchen knife while trying to carve a pretty pattern into a green birch. This is the knife you are not allowed to touch – the sharpest one in the kitchen. The cut is deep, so deep, and this is the first time that you truly appreciate the colour red. Can’t look away.
Fifteen, and standing on the window ledge, looking down with curiosity and wonder, longing. It’s the night of a school dance. There is so much promise in the space between you and the ground far below. The sky. The trees. The pavement. So boring, so cliche – the jump. You shake your head, and climb down.
Oh, and remember eighteen? French kissing a girl on St.Patrick’s Day, guzzling beer after beer, drunk after two, dancing after three. It’s not even dark yet, but you wobble home, because tomorrow is another shift at the coffee shop, and your skin will smell like donuts, and your feet will hurt, and your hairnet will refuse to stay on. In the morning, purple bruises bloom on your thighs. “What happened?”, you ask your friend. “Oh honey… you kept trying to dance!”
You are twenty seven, staring at the old shirts he did not bother taking. You dial this friend, and that friend, and not-really-a-friend-but-would-do-for-now. Only voicemails. You lose your cell phone, sprain your ankle, and re-paint the bedroom green. You speed down the highway in the pouring rain, watching the arrow on the speedometer: Ninety. One hundred. One hundred and ten. Miles an hour. Yes, miles. Rain, tears – water outside, water inside. Hands still on the wheel, you throw your head back and scream, hoping to drown before you crash. He hated green.
At thirty three, the death is not yours, but the life no longer growing inside of you. You close your eyes, and dream in colour – blood red – raw chopped liver on white tiles.
Thirty five swells and expands. Another particle of stardust, another life promise. Heart beat. You close your eyes, and dream in green. The leaves, the grass, the forest. All things alive.
This is what death does.
Brings out colour.
About the Author – Kate Solovieva
Kate Solovieva [or SOLO] is a writer, extreme endurance racer, traveller and coach. Born in Siberia, Russia, Kate immigrated to Canada as a teenager, and fascinated by all things human behavior, earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees in psychology, focusing on health, resilience and trauma. In her past lives she has been a psychology professor, a bootcamp instructor, and a yoga teacher. When she is not skydiving, mountaineering in the Himalayas, or bungee jumping in India, she writes creative nonfiction.
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