She places her bare hands on a wound that runs up the side of his abdomen like lightning, crackling in it’s aftermath like thunder. This mess is open, alive and red and she cradles it like it’s her everything. He’s bleeding for no reason, and she applies the pressure, fierce, with her delicate palms. He’s pale, white like a dead body. She’s never seen anything like it before. Before him.
Are his lungs empty?
She stops breathing, leans her face in to his lips, opens her ears as wide as they can manage. At first, there is nothing. Then there is her own heart that batters the underside of her breast; it’s blood vibrating past her eardrums and clogging her face with reddening pigment. His breath is thin in his throat, but his ribs drag in the bathroom air, still, and the carbon dioxide from her slender body.
She’d break her breath in two if she could, fill his guts with half of herself so he could laugh at her clumsy jokes again. But she’s too scared to move her bare hands that hold him together... and the only mouth to mouth she ever learned was from a boy who unwrapped her like candy.
Forever, she sits—sits with him. She sits as he lies there, sinking into the tiles beneath her legs. Her feet fall asleep, and she thinks for the first time in her life that he is beautiful. This frail creature evaporating in front of her is more brilliant than anything she can think to think of. He’s never been called beautiful before, but she isn’t in a talkative mood right now. Instead, she sways softly to the music that tiptoes in from the apartment on the other side of the drywall.
She wants to hold one of his skinny fists between hers, and tell him stories about all the bad things that have ever happened. She wants his face to be lively, for the red wine in his veins to fill the whites of his eyes with pink, microscopic cracks. She wants to blink her eyelids in time with his (she thinks his eyelashes are beautiful, now) and share his pillow. He drooled on it every night; his mouth open and hollow, teeth unlocked and bleached... but he never snored. His eyes. Alone, his eyes, the color of creamed coffee, could make you weep if they wanted to. But they were fond of distraction, and happy staring at things that never matter to anyone.
She feels nothing and it reminds her that she’s touching his exposed stomach; that his blood has been sucked into her pores and has bruised her very bones.