Teaching You To Breathe

The force of my vehicle colliding with the other broke my left leg in three places, cracked four ribs, put 37 stitches in my left arm, and split my left orbital bone. The doctor came back with the X-rays and pointed at all the places where my bones turned into twigs and got shattered, snapped, and pulverized. Trapped in the hospital bed, I swear I can feel the jagged edges of the snapped femur, the grains of calcium phosphate caught between the two halves of my tibia. He drags his pen across the X-rays of my chest, my legs, my skull. He says, “Luckily all the damaged you sustained was structural,” pointing to all the places where little pieces of bone didn’t puncture a lung or my heart, sever my spinal cord. He says, “Not all people are that lucky, Owen.” He says, “People lose a lot more by just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Then the doctor tells me the casts will be on for at least twelve weeks, more likely sixteen to twenty-two. Worst-case scenario, twenty-four. He says that then he says, “I hope you don’t have any big pool parties planned” then he laughs in a hardy-har-har way that I can’t even do back to him because just breathing hurts.

I do shoot him a crooked smile with my broken blackened face, the bruised and sagging eye socket scrunching up. He tries not to frown.

On his way out I ask him what happened to Jason and the doctor says, “Let’s say you fared better than your brother.” He pauses for a second and his mustache ruffles around while he purses his lips. “You can see him tomorrow, I think.” He pats me on the shoulder, square on the blue-black bruise that’s still deep red around the edges, trapped blood shining through the skin.

#

Jason’s body didn’t get as banged up as mine. The car hit the other side, my side, but apparently the metal of the frame crumpling around me, into me, kept me nestled still like an egg in a carton. He hit his head on the door in the flip, whipping his brain around inside his skull, resetting it. That’s what the doctor said to me, resetting it.

His body didn’t get as banged up but he woke from the surgery to take the excess pressure off his brain and a three-day coma without really knowing who he was.

They shined a light in his eyes to make sure his pupils would dilate and asked do you know where you are, do you know what happened, do you know what year it is? His pupils dilated but he answered no, no, no.

#

A knock on the hospital door produces a nurse with a large stack of hospital white, antiseptic white linens. She says she’s here to change the sheets. I’ve been out of bed for a few hours watching reruns of police dramas on TV to keep myself occupied. I tell her that’s fine and go back to a show where an attorney stands over a woman accused of murder and insurance fraud.

The nurse starts stripping the bed, pulling the wool blanket off, then the rumpled sheets. She says, “Are you the only member of your family out here aside from your brother?”

I’m a little bit startled by her voice. Most of the orderlies and nurses don’t talk to me because I haven’t spoken to them. I spend most of my time in near-quiet that the hospital creates, punctuated by the coughing, moaning, and screaming patients, running doctors, the continual sound of monitors beeping and beeping and beeping. I have this room to myself so I can’t hear anyone else breathing aside from me, but I know that they are somewhere creating the continual hospital wheeze of people overshadowed by death.

“Umm, yeah I am.”

She’s a little too tan and a little too made-up for the job, for this time of day, but she’s pretty besides it. She heaps all of the dirty sheets onto a chair and gently unfolds the clean ones.

“You must spend a lot of time together, with your brother I mean.” She has an accent that makes her sound like she’s from somewhere with wide open air, somewhere in the middle of the country that smells like sunlight and dry riverbeds. She pulls her blonde hair up into a ponytail before trying to wrestle the sheets over the corner of the bed again. I would offer to help but I’ve only just gotten used to the wheelchair I’m going to be confined to for the next few months.

“Not quite,” I say. “We haven’t always seen eye to eye.”

She makes a tutting sound with her tongue and says, “I bet it’s just a sibling thing. You’ll get past it.”

“I’m not sure about that.”

“Trust me on that one. You’ll find a way.” She finally pulls the cover over the bed and smiles victoriously. “Do you have other family coming out to visit?” She pulls a pillow from its case how pioneers in movies pulled skin from rabbits.

“My parents wanted to come but there’s nothing to see really,” I say. “A few phone calls should cover anything that happens.” Well honestly, I didn’t tell them the full extent of what happened so they wouldn’t come out here. A minor fracture and head wound. It’s not a big deal, mom and dad.

She starts to put the top sheet over the bed, walking around the mattress to tuck in the ends, to make sure it’s straight. “I would appreciate some company after this kind of thing but to each his own, I suppose.” She stoops down to investigate her work, tugging on one corner to even it out.

“I just really want some peace and quiet,” I say. She grabs the wool blanket from the chair, she drapes it over the neatly made bed. “I want some…”

“You time?”

“Yeah, me time,” I say. “I just want some me time.” And I really do.

She starts to loosely folds the sheets onto themselves. She hesitates a little and then says, “I know it’s not polite to talk about money but how do you plan on paying for this?” She pauses. “Both you and your brother are young.”

“Insurance, I suppose.” I run my hand through my hair. “I need to get around to that eventually.”

“Well, Mr. Goodwin,” she says. “I hope you get what you deserve.” She turns to leave, sheets in hand. Before she goes she says. “Oh, Owen, I mean Mr. Goodwin, before I forget, there were a few messages left for you at the desk, do you want them?”

“Not right now,” I say. “It’s not like I’m going anywhere.”

I turn back to the TV and the woman has her head cradled in her arms, shoulders shaking with sobs; catharsis. The attorney has his hand on her shoulder saying, it’s okay the truth will always set you free. I change the channel when the narrator starts up about the woman’s jail sentence, 15 years for thinking about what she had done.

#

Jog his memory. That’s what they say. I’m trapped in this wheelchair, black and purple and lumpy like a plum and they’re telling me, bring in photos, yearbooks. Tell him stories. They tell me that twice. Tell him stories.

The nurse says, “Childhood is always a good place to start,” while pushing me down the hallway, linoleum glistening like the surface of water in the sun, glare spots and all. The wheelchair leaves behind a small swishing sound, smooth and quiet, as she pushes me from my room to the ICU.

The nurse wheels me into his room, next to his bed, and says, “Just remind him about the times you two used to have and it’ll all come back.” She gives me a look that’s supposed to comfort me and closes the door behind her. I sit by his bed in silence and watch his chest rise and fall without him having to think about it. The room is filled with flowers, orange lilies and ruby red tulips, big yellow clumps of daises. They’re huddled all around the room, filling the room with the thick fragrance. I can feel it on the insides of my nostrils. A testament to the fact that he has someone who will send him flowers. They’re ranging from starchy fresh to wilted, a few days old. They must have been here since the first flip of the car, before it came to a rest on its side in the ditch. His dusty straw-colored hair is peeking out from beneath the bandages that are wrapped around his skull, covering up a single drill hole—a sap tap in a maple tree. There’s the faint halo of a bruise on his left cheek.

I wheel myself out before he wakes up.

#

The next time I come back to his room, Jason is awake. The nurse has to introduce me to him. It takes him a minute before he puts two and two together and remembers me, his lanky little brother. The room is bathed in the light of late spring coming through the window. He sits up in his bed with a little help from the nurse. He smiles polite like a child and she says, “I’ll let you two get caught up now” and leaves before I can ask her to take me with her.

I look out the window and out onto the beautiful landscape of lush trees and thick grass, swaying with the wind. It hasn’t rained in weeks, a textbook example of a beautiful season.

Jason says, “So what do you want to talk about, Odin?” and I sigh.

 

Before I have a chance to fumble my way through a conversation with my only sibling, something gets knocked over just beyond the doorway. The sharp snap of breaking glass, of clattering metal, sends a chill down my spine. And I know it’s just some glasses and some trays falling outside the door but for a second my head throws me back into the driver’s seat of my car, rolling over and over itself, letting the blood run down my face again. I can feel the crushed safety glass against my skin again, my heart beating high in my ears again. The silence surrounding is deafening. No sound from Jason. No sound from the other car, from the driver of the other car. Silence.

My head puts me there for a half-second and all I can do is wait while the wave of sound works its way out of my system leaving me in a hospital, in a wheelchair, safe and almost sound. I mutter something about how I’ll be back, I’m just a little jumpy and wheel myself out into the hallway and past the spill of peas and glass until my head is clear.

#

I tip my head back and can feel all the blood slosh on its way through my body, pushing against the breaks in my skin, bones, and arteries, trying to get out. Gerald says, “I know this is a pain but we do all this so we can figure out where the money goes.” He leans forward in his chair. “Especially since the other driver’s family has sustained an unfortunate loss. No one wants this dragged out, especially not them.”

 

Gerald Salter, insurance agent with Salter and Sons, was sitting by my bed when I woke up. Pen clenched between his teeth and the Sunday crossword spread out on his lap, it took him three across and seventeen down to realize that I was awake. He shoved the pen behind his ear and stuck out his hand and introduced himself—Gerald Salter, insurance agent with Salter and Sons. Placing the paper by the heel of his cowboy boot he said, “I thought I’d give you a week to get yourself together a bit before I came down.” He looked at me trapped in my bed by a bum left side and said, “You look…rough.” There was a shadow of a twang in his voice, the remnant of something twenty years ago and two thousand miles away. He scratched behind his ear and looked me over.

 

I should care about the money, and I do care about the money but at the moment I feel like paper-mache, a newspaper and glue shell filled with slop and guts. I take a long, deep breath, like I’m about to go underwater, and hold it in my lungs and let the pain of my ribs rush through my marrow. I exhale and ask “Do we have to do this now?” and with that Gerald sits up in his chair a little straighter and runs a hand along his mostly bare scalp. “Fine, Owen. I’ll leave you to your rest.”

#

I don’t want him to stay with me but the doctors won’t let either of us live alone. Not until my leg casts come off or his memory is mostly back. So at best, ten weeks. Most likely fourteen to twenty. At absolute worst, for the rest of his life. They say, in this condition, we are two halves of a functioning whole and should be together. They smile when they say it. A nurse puts us in the taxi and says take this opportunity to bond, to become that functioning whole, and this will go by in a jiffy.

So I take him and his eggy little head home with me. It’s bandaged up still and he spends the whole taxi ride looking out the window with his eyes squinting like we’ve landed on Mars. When he starts to ask me a question, I pretend I’m asleep and the rest of the ride continues on in silence.

 

He gets my room on the second floor. I get the guest room on the first floor that grandma stays in when she visits. The cab driver helps Jason carry the stuff his roommate dropped off at the hospital and I’m stuck wheeling myself through my own house, trying to remember if that guest room door opens in or out.

Luckily it’s in.

 

Jason comes and knocks on my door while I’m trying to haul myself into bed with my weak arms and my good leg. He peeks his head through the door. “Is there anything you don’t want me to touch in your room?” he asks. And I want to yell until my vocal chords shred but I just say, “I’m really tired, can we talk about this later?” And he closes the door behind him, leaving me to the dim room and the dust and the sound of my own heart beat-beat-beating like nothing happened.

#

The insurance company leaves a message while I’m lying in bed. I listen to the phone ring without moving. Haven’t even been home a day yet but the world won’t stop and let me catch up for a second.

Jason won’t pick up the phone. The phone amplifies the blankness, the voice without the context, without the face. When they held my cell phone up to his ear, Mom’s voice crackling through the speaker just bounced around his skull trying to find something to grab onto.

The phone just rings and rings and rings then “Hello this is Owen Goodwin, please leave a message.” BEEP. Hello this is Gerald Salter again…

I try to block it out. I imagine that I was a brick in the center of a solid wall. The whole wall is quiet and I am quiet. I am silent. I am solid. Gerald Salter’s voice is gone and the whole world is quiet for a few seconds, a few precious seconds.

#

Having him here is like living with a ghost. He’s quiet now, so quiet. The last time he was this silent was when he got his tonsils out when he was twelve. He paces, retracing the routes around the house. When he’s upstairs all I hear is footsteps, the opening and closing of doors, the whooshing of windows being opened at night, the clatter of searching. I lie in bed and listen to him and pretend he’s a ghost, that he died in the car and left his spirit here. Sometimes I don’t see him until he’s a few feet away, standing in his socks looking like he got lost somewhere between this world and the next.

#

Rolling myself into the kitchen, Amy, the Brotherly Arms Hospice worker who drops by on Mondays and Thursdays, is standing in front of the microwave. Meatloaf is my guess. The smell of gravy wafts out of the microwave on the back of its incessant hum. I fit myself into the chair-less side of the table across from Jason. Amy sets a plate with meatloaf and potatoes in front of each of us. She sets herself to mindlessly organizing things, leaving the only sounds in the room as her footsteps on the linoleum and chewing.

Jason and I don’t talk. I don’t know what to say; so I keep my head down all the time, leaving the soft of my neck exposed for the first time in a long time. I can’t talk to him, so I leave my mouth shut and the silence speaks the words I’ve never been able to say. But he doesn’t hear the subtext in the silence, unversed in the history that makes it meaningful.

Jason gets up and goes to the bathroom, his footsteps disappearing as he rounds the corner. Amy leans in and says, “Is the insurance company going to cover this, Mr. Goodwin, or are you?” She pulls a lock of her mousy brown hair behind her ear. “Mr. Goodwin, we need that paperwork filled out by the end of the next billing term or you’re going to be fined for nonpayment.” I smell the disinfectant on her clothes, the smell they use to cover impending death, that covers everyone she works with. “Did you get our messages, Mr. Goodwin?” I smush the peas into the potatoes into the gravy.

“I’m not sure who’s paying, Amy. I haven’t checked my messages though.”

#

Some nights I wake up shaking in my casts.

The sound that action movies use for all the flashy car wrecks is right. That sickening groan, the bend then snap of metal all around you, it’s the sound of utter chaos. It doesn’t happen every night, just most of them. When it does, it’s the flash of headlights then that sound is loud in my ear, the searing heat of the metal piercing my leg, the clean crack of the bones. I hear every bone break even over the sound of the car rolling. I hear it resonate with every cell in my body.

I hear it first then I feel it. The bones cracking then the blood dripping hot down my legs and sides, down my temples, my mouth tasting like copper and salt and bitterness, like my own life.

I wake up in bed with the cotton sheets and the goose down and the scratchy cast but for that second my body thinks it’s about to die and throws itself into overdrive. I wake up in a cold sweat with a pounding heart. I wake up like I’m trapped in the car, the most alive I’ve ever been, five seconds before I thought I would die.

And I am alive. Upstairs I hear Jason pacing around again. He is alive. In the most unusual of turns of fate we both lived and someone else died—someone whose face I don’t know and voice I’ve never heard. If I were the kind of person to believe in ghosts I’d say it was him casting this shadow over the house, saying “all anyone wants is to be alright”. I’d say it was him making me feel his presence on the back of my neck, making me feel his death and all death on my shoulders.

I would get up and pace around the room a little but I can’t walk.

#

“What were we like,” he asks. “You know, before?”

He catches me as I roll through the living room to find a sweater that I wouldn’t be able to put on comfortably anyway. He flicks the channel from sports to weather to the travel channel. He pauses at the bright landscape of some island paradise and puts the remote down. When he turns to look at me I’m frozen like a deer in the middle of the road.

The blankness of his innocence, of his ignorance in his eyes is eerie. All I see is the phantasm of my reflection, upside down and blurry on his corneas.

But today I am alive. He is alive. There is nothing else but today and the stretch of time between now and the second we die. All the shit in the past is done, gone, ground into dust like the glass in my car. It can be thrown to the wind and swept over the states till it settles in the ocean. I can do that, the lumpy plum, the younger brother, the scrawny son. I can do that.

So I say, “We were good. We were close.” Because I can. Because I have the authority to say that no one else can correct me.

When he nods and smiles, says “Good, I’m glad,” adrenaline washes through my blood.

#

People want to think that a picture is worth a thousand words; that it conveys something deeper, the swirls of colors and the smiles just mean something on their own. But they don’t. It’s just a face, a second pulled out of a section of time so long and expansive, with so much back story, that it means nothing on its own.

I set the book of pictures that mom sent out with me down on my lap and turn the pages.

I show him a picture of us in a pumpkin patch when I was eight and he was ten, the third year in a row he left me in the corn maze, and to him it’s just two kids in autumn. He says, that’s us right? And I tell him yeah; we used to love all this fall-time stuff.

The picture of us camping doesn’t bring up him leaving apple cores in my tent after I fell asleep so raccoons would wander in. The picture of my childhood snake didn’t bring up him leaving it in the grass, losing it. All of it is gone. No snickering laughter. No condescending “Oh, little brother” shit. No dad saying it’s just sibling rivalry. Nothing. Just what happened here?

And I tell him. Me the lumpy plum, the wheelchair-bound, the little brother, the small, the weak—I tell him.

#

The phone ringing pulls me out of my car like a hand of god as it rolls one, two, three times. The cotton sheets are stuck to my sweat-slick skin.

My leg aches inside the cast, a steady throbbing as I lie in bed, bones thinking they’re being re-broken night after night. I’ve almost gotten used to the pain in my side, background noise as I breathe in and out, in and out. The caller ID says Salter and Sons insurance. I haul myself up in bed and let my legs dangle over the side, let the pain resettle along the planes of my body like sediment.

The phone keeps ringing.

The doctor said that my leg cast could come off in anywhere from six to twelve weeks. My ribs should be coming around soon. I still feel broken though. And eerie, half a ghost in my own life.

I reach over and pull the cord from the phone. Through the walls I can hear the others keep going till the answering machine kicks in. “Hello, this is Owen Goodwin, please leave a message.” BEEP

Gerald Salter’s bodiless voice floats through the house, traveling through the walls; one more thing haunting me as I close my eyes and try to get back to my nap.

#

Together we make one nearly functional human being. He moves things now that I can’t. He reaches the shelves. I give directions to fill the gaps his mind has left him with. He’s a good listener, finally. I choose movies because most of them are just dull flickers of forgotten summers and he watches them in quiet awe.

It turns out it’s hard to be jaded when everything’s new again.

We laugh at the funny parts and cheer at the manly parts. The credits roll and he asks me when this one came out again. Between the summer of tee-ball and tennis, I say. Or four springs after graduation or the year mom and dad got married.

I fill the gaps in his memory, sew his threadbare ones together with fragments from my half of our existence. It’s nice. Because I’m his brother. Because they fit.

I leaf through the books of pictures with him, fragments of the history we both shared and fill in the blanks. Painting pictures where he and I are brothers for once. Where he and I are the same in the eyes of our father and the world. I am not the black sheep and he the football star who left me at school to walk home. The sun is bright on our Arizona home and I wasn’t always sunburned and pining for Pennsylvania and the temperate seasons when I didn’t know better. We were one whole family, a set that fit. He eats it up. Coasting through pictures of vacations, remembering flickers standing on the top of the ladder to jump in the lake, remembering the pet snake we had. I just fill in the rest. That’s all I do, fill in the rest, the stuff that should have been there all along.

Eight weeks in and he reads the recipe while I find the ingredients. I chop the vegetables while he sweats them in a pan. He stirs and the water hisses out of them. It’s nice.

#

He asks about the accident sometimes. This time he asks while I’m scratching the dry and flaking skin under my cast with a fork. Generally, I tell him I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t really; dreaming about it is enough, almost continuously a loop of shattering glass and crunching metal playing in my mind. But even on the days when I feel okay about it I don’t want to hear him ask, “and then what” over and over again.

But today he asks me what happened and I tell him, “The other guy fell asleep at the wheel and drifted into our lane.” I clear my throat. “I wasn’t paying attention.”

“What happened to the other guy?”

I look him in the eye and there’s nothing but the reflection of my freshly cleaned living room; nothing about that night but darkness “He died in the crash.”

“Wow, that sucks.”

I nod. It does suck.

#

I sent Jason to take out the trash twenty minutes ago. He hasn’t come back yet. Part of me is a little worried that he got turned around outside and forgot how to get home. I wheel myself to the front door and struggle with the inward swinging door for a minute before I can catch it on my foot and swing it open. He’s standing in front of a beige boat of a car, a wide Cadillac. Gerald Salter is leaning on the hood with the heel of one of his boots on the grille. When he notices me wheel down the walkway towards them, Gerald stands up and places a hand on Jason’s shoulder. He says, “Call me, son” and strides back into his car and drives away without a lingering look.

 

Jason looks at me, standing as a solid mass in front of me, the bigger brother he always was, then he side-steps me, leaving me in the warmth of the season. Sitting in my wheelchair, one leg in cast and the other shoeless and pale. I haven’t spent any time outside since spring crept in, dragging summer behind it; since the crash. I hear a lawnmower spring to life, children playing a couple streets away. The wind picks up, sending me glimpses of the things I’ve missed. The rustling of leaves, the hum of tires on asphalt. Pollen and fresh-cut grass from houses down the block. My lawn is shaggy from the 10 weeks of avoidance, overgrown and antisocial.

I turn myself around in the wheelchair and head back inside.

 

I can hear him wander around upstairs, his footsteps through the ceiling. I would go up there but I can’t drag myself up the stairs.

 

The answering machine light is blinking. It has been for days. I keep intending to play the messages but then this always happens. I wheel myself in front of it and I can’t just press play. The disconnected voices, the incomplete pictures. I generally wheel myself away and leave it for the apathy to pick apart. But now that Gerald has come and Jason is up there pacing around like he’s lost I feel like I’m missing something. My phone has been ringing for the past few weeks and I’ve been letting most of them drop off into the abyss of my voicemail.

I’ve been calling it rest and relaxation, I’ve been calling it healing, bonding with Jason, anything really. Really, I’ve been here watching the paint fade and my bones heal, trying to feel all the way alive again, trying to feel in control again. I’ve been feeding both of us lies to fatten our bones. I’ve been calling it me time. I’ve been calling it getting back up on my feet. I’ve been dreaming about my car rolling over and over again. I’ve been stuck in a wheelchair, using a geriatric shower so I don’t soak my casts while I bathe. Whatever this is eventually someone has to notice it’s not what I’ve been saying.

 

I don’t hear his footsteps till he’s at the landing of the stairs. He says, “They said you hit him.” His voice sounds steely. I turn myself around so I can see him. He’s got his jacket on and the phone from upstairs in his hand “They said you know you hit him and you’re not telling them to just get the money.”

I wheel myself towards him, he steps back up onto the stairs. I say, “They’re just bluffing, Jason,” I say. “I’m the only one who can remember what happened so if I say I did it they can get off this case early.” The lie rolls off my greased tongue, so smooth I can barely feel it.

“Are you being honest?

 

No. I’m not being honest.

On the way home from picking up a drunk Jason from a college party I made a snide comment about how he’s “too immature to hang out with people his own age.” And he said “Why do you do all of this then?”

“Because I’m the better brother.”

“No,” he said. “Because you’re the weaker brother. You’re the submissive brother and you know this. Everyone knows this.”

In a moment of anger I snapped at him and his condescending shit. In a moment of anger I could no longer roll my eyes and turn the other cheek at the way he was just better and the way he knew it without even thinking about it. In a moment of anger I punched my older brother in the face while driving down a thruway that was under construction, narrowing it down to two lanes of opposing traffic. He shoved me, I punched him again and all the while the wheel was going unguided, the car careening. We started to drift into the next lane. Then the headlights, the snapping metal, the rolling, rolling, rolling. My car must have demolished the other car, smashed it into the pavement.

 

I keep telling myself that it’s not my fault but I know it is. But I’ll sew myself into this lie because it’s the only thing I can do. I’ll graft it onto my existence and maybe with my blood as its blood it will grow along with me. Maybe it will become a part of me I can cultivate and control. The seam would be so smooth, the scar so faint that no one would ever have to know except the ghost of the man and me.

 

“Yes, Jason,” I say to him. “I’m your brother. I wouldn’t lie to you.”

When I say that his face softens, he sits down on the landing of the stairs and puts his elbows on his knees, running his hands through his hair. We’re eye to eye right now. He exhales.

“It’s been hard for me, you know.” He puts a hand on my shoulder. “I’ve been feeling like I’m missing something. I’m glad I have a brother for me to lean on.”

I know, deep down, that the Jason that used to inhabit his body before the crash is in there, lost and aimless. I know that one day it may find its way back into the cockpit, wrestling the Frankenstein I’ve created out of way and taking control. The doctors say that his memory should start to come back on its own and who knows how he’ll remember me. But if he remembers me how he always has, if he remembers this, I hope he somehow knows that I’m doing this because the truth hurts and I want this to be painless.

“You know I’m here for you.”

He stands up, making him all the bigger. He says, “I know” and climbs the stairs, taking off his jacket as he goes.

#

I wheel myself around to the answering machine. The light is blinking faithfully. I press play all messages and sit back in the chair. The disconnected voices, the phantasmal apparitions of everyone outside my property lines file into my living room to hover over me.

Owen, sweetie, this is mom. You can’t keep avoiding us forever. Give me a call.

 

Owen Goodwin. This is an automated call to alert you that you have missed an appointment with Doctor Finian Cook. Please call the office as soon as possible to reschedule.

 

Owen, This is Maggie calling from the office. We want to make sure you get back on your feet before you come back to work but we were wondering when that was going to be. No rush or anything, we just need to know for the temp agency. Call me back. We’re worried about you…

 

Mr. Goodwin, this is Gerald Salter. You can’t keep avoiding us forever, son. You have things you have to deal with. Responsibilities to other people. You can’t keep avoiding them forever…

I shut off the answering machine before all the messages are through playing. Because the truth hurts. And I just want this to be painless.

Melissa Bean is sophomore studying at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, perusing a degree in Sociology, Literature, and Creative Writing. She currently lives in New York City. Her blog: http://melissabeanwriting.wordpress.com

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One Response to Teaching You To Breathe

  1. Pingback: “Teaching You To Breathe” on Eunioa Review « This is what I would say

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