Beginnings (Clothes, Letters, Sky, Sound) by Marcus Civin

Dreams are not terrible enough. Reality can be far worse. Dreams end. You always wake up from dreams.

Heavy-hyper-breathing couriers carried missives that sit now, stocking the wooden, nailed-together mail cubby at home.

I had imagined that the worst part would be that everything could actually be just like it was. Everything would be exactly the same even though I was about to die. I would have no big realizations. I would die just like I am now, or worse, I would die just as I was just before now. That one friend would be there like he always was in college and he would be hitting on someone, like he always was, smarmy and obvious, making my skin crawl, somehow about to get laid. Even though we were about to die horribly, he would be flirting. I would wonder how he managed to read more books than me, how he managed to always be honor role and also find the time to be so smarmy.

Clothing reveals body parts as much as clothing covers body parts. More so than it covers, clothing reveals. Clothing is body parts as much as clothing stitches together to cover hair, cover skin ripples.

The plane rushes in its nose dive and my stomach surges but there are no angels. I reach no religious understanding, no nostalgic If-only-I-could-have, no realizations. There is just all the same shit.

We bank on the fact that shirt and pants will be acceptable as shirt and pants, that no one will look more closely than that.

There, on envelopes, there used to be names and addresses, names and addresses on lick-sealed paper. I strain to see the return addresses, other parents, grandparents, someone else’s lover, bill-master, car place, children who were tender, hungry.

There is a man; he is berating me. I was supposed to shovel his walk. Somehow, too, I was supposed to repair his walk before I was supposed to shovel it.

The tuba plays. The tuba is an unwieldy instrument. Even in an orchestra it doesn’t fit with the tender, sensitive, sculpted other instruments. It is a gangly boulder of an instrument, the lip roll and lip fart of the tuba, tuba-ing. But, there it is, the tuba among the other instruments.

The walkway up to the man’s house is frozen crumbles. I didn’t realize. He’s my neighbor and he’s usually friendly enough. Tonight, though, he is all shards and wild shouts. It’s all my fault. I should have fixed his walkway. His walkway is boulders, really.

My pants will rip right when we crash. My shirt will split too.

Tonight, as I was walking out of the library, the perfect black sky was daytime blue. Behind the colonial campus buildings, the sky was precisely the wrong color. It was dinner time and I had to do night-time things, start to get ready for the flight, but the sky was still daytime sky.

I gave up too much power when I allowed other people to fly planes for me. I should have learned to fly a plane.