>EMPTY

>While I watched you die, I thought a little of afternoon tea.

It used to be okay, back then, when you’d let me run the floss deep down between my teeth, bringing out painless blood, so I could squirt it out from between my teeth like a nearly-beaten boxer. When you’d let me hold my hands against the toaster until they buzzed and nearly stuck.

Until that time you made me hold my breath, in the black-blue shallows of the deep end, where I passed out and floated to the top like a jellyfish. When you made me inhale the water, that chlorine-sodden poison, so the life guard had to thump it out of me with his fists. When you made me poke the purple bruises on my chest while I slept.

You made me spit and swear at my own parents while they drove me to another clinic. You hid yourself when they looked, then re-appeared when they turned their backs. You made me wriggle and fidget as they fed me into the machine that showed them my brain. You were everywhere and nowhere, all at once.

I watched you disappear, fading back through the sky-blue smoke. I thought of my next meal, eating it blissfully alone. As my eyes grew heavy, grinding down like rocks, all I felt was my own weight, perfectly balanced.

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