BAPTISM • by Uzma Imran

He’s a relentless whisper in my mind. A numbing calm that washes over me.

The redness meets the clear water in soft spirals traveling down the length of my body, warm against my skin in contrast to the now cold water in the bathtub.

The solitude of living inside my own mind has seared my ability to rationalize. To understand that time and the world can move past him. That eventually so shall I.

My eyes are heavy, drooping and wet, watching the red pool grow larger as it mingles with the water. I lick my dry lips as my thoughts move to that last night. The last night on the unwashed bed sheets that I keep hidden in my bedroom closet now. A cradle, to wrap myself in him on nights when the ache is unbearable and I feel as if I will bleed him.

I had asked him the questions for which I didn’t want the answers. I had asked him that night when his lips were like feathers and his hands like silk. Those wretched army greens pressed and ready hanging on the door watched us with jealous sighs, always beckoning him to the grave.

“What if you don’t come back?”

“I’ll always come back, darlin’,” he had mouthed into my hair, his breath sweet on my face.

“Please,” I begged. “How will I stand it?”

“There’s always paradise,” he chuckled in that irresistible throaty way that made my heartbeat rapid again.

“You’re an atheist, Mark.”

“For you, darlin’, I am born again,” he testified, tightening his warm embrace around my body until I felt as if I would break.

Break me, remake me, and never let me go.

I am falling. Sliding until only my eyes remain above water. I wish that I had asked one more question, mapped the directions to his paradise. No matter how long and hard I wander in search, I face nothingness.

I grow weary from searching. I fear it cannot be captured and his paradise must be earned. My pain grows with each passing second, but he was worth far more to me than this coward’s escape. If I am a reflection of him then his strength must be buried within me. In rare moments of lucidity these are the fragments I gather of him.

I put the razor back in its paper, straighten the tipped glass of red wine and pull the plug. The pink water drains washing over my body and I am saved.

I am pure.

Uzma Imran has been writing since childhood and has recently decided to seek publication for her fiction writing. She is working on her first novel called “The Torn”. She lives in Toronto, Ontario with her husband and her two adorably naughty children.

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