Morning Light

She wakes that morning knowing that she is going to die.

She feels her soul out of alignment, as it often is in the morning. Her favorite calibration method is yoga; as she folds herself into the first pose, she wonders whether she could detach herself from her body long enough to watch. She tries it, allowing herself to float up like a red balloon, tethered to her body merely by a piece of string so thin it is invisible. She watches as her body curls and stretches from one pose to the next: bridge, joyful baby, shoulder stand.
Far, far away, the door slams. She hears (or doesn’t hear) her husband’s familiar footsteps. The dogs, freshly excited from their morning walk, come bounding up the stairs. They have no respect for meditation; she is knocked over in a blur of white fur and joyful panting. Her soul-tether is jerked and twangs dangerously and briefly she thinks this must be it, the moment she dies–but then she is back in her body, looking out of her eyes.
She lies supine on the floor, listening to her husband humming in the kitchen below. She recognizes the tune as an old one of hers, a bleak song about orgasms and solitude.
The dogs have already bounded away, knowing the bedroom is cat-territory and breakfast is waiting downstairs. She images what it must be like to be a dog: the adventure of chasing foxes, the complete ecstasy of finding an old scrap of ham under the table and devouring it in one quick swallow. The joyful mystery of car rides with her head out the window and the wind blowing her hair back.
She gets up. Walks to the dresser, begins pulling out frothy masses of clothing. She sheaths her legs in silk stockings, wraps herself in crinoline. She knows there is no need to dress up–no one to see her but her husband, and the dogs, and the cats and bees. She knows she could walk around the house in nothing but her skin, if she so desired. After all, she does it all the time.
Today, however, her skin feels too light. She wants to weigh it down to earth for just a little longer.
She descends the stairs in a rustle of petticoats. On the kitchen counter is a steaming mug of chai tea. She knows before tasting that it will be exactly the right blend of nonsweetness and milk, just how she likes it. She sips it as she wanders into the room where her husband is sitting and reading in the morning light.
She sits down on the love seat next to him and swings her legs up into his lap. He caresses them absentmindedly, not looking up from his book.
“The attachment of our selves to our bodies is such a fragile thing,” she tells him. He hums in agreement, so she continues. “We spend so much time trying to chain ourselves into this hollow shell, but ultimately we are doomed to have that connection snap, and there is no way to prevent it.”
He looks up at her, puts a hand on her thigh. “No, there is no way to prevent it,” he affirms. “But,” he pulls the red ribbon marker from his book, “life is all about making these fragile connections.” He ties the ribbon to her wrist and smiles at her, the warm morning sun making his face even more gentle than usual.
“That’s all we can really ask for, isn’t it?” she says. She doesn’t say “I am going to die today.”
“That’s all we can really ask for,” he agrees.

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