Autopilot

She tells me she’s eighteen, and I don’t believe her, but I don’t care either.
The coarseness of her palms suggests masonry, but she protests otherwise. Languid expressions she floats are candid and shaped by her plain face with ease. Her lips only part when kissed, and she only speaks when she knows it’s profound. Her nails are unpainted, and she wears tall, black snakeskin boots to shield her elongated legs. But her short skirt only counteracts her attempt. Her bare thighs are sleek, spry, “ready to dance?” she says.



The walls are flashing green and blue and yellow and white, and I have to slow my breathing so I don’t have a seizure. Numbers appear everywhere, and begin to imbed themselves into my retinas. I close my eyes, and plug my ears for three whole seconds. I try to do more, but that’s all I can do. When I open my eyes again, and lift my fingers out of my ears, a myriad of numbers and lights and a cacophony of sirens and horns barrage me to my knees. I take a deep breath, and settle in. I take off my gloves, and fasten my seatbelt. All of the dials and buttons and numbers look alike, and I’m too nauseous; I can’t distinguish. My vision becomes blurry, and if I didn’t have my seatbelt on, I would fall out of my chair. I know it’s coming on, but I can barely do anything to stop it. The veins in my hands pulsate, and sweat builds at my nape. My spine shrivels into a corpse, and I close my eyes once again.
“Prepare for impact,” the computer says.



“Cut power.”
“Cutting power.”
The lights flick off, and the noise serenades itself to silence.

I float in a realm of ethereality.
I can see the winged tip of the seraphim.
And Just before I vomit, a bright white light consumes the cabin, and I go blind with apprehension – with reverence.
The light fades, and my vomit clears, and I see it.

“The bridge,” I say out loud.
“The bridge,” I hear an echo.


Cowering in my seat, I remember the ceremony.
“Do you take Francis to be your…”
“Do you take Sara to be your…”
Before they even finished, I was out the door in my car. I promised I’d never come back here. I’d move away, and forget about her – galaxies, nebulas – far away.
But every star that flickers encapsulates a memory of her, and no known cosmos could contain her spirit, or separate those stars from my eyes.

An adagio of ambience begins to play for me, and in its grueling silence, I wish I could forget Sara.
But I remember she’s the only reason I exist.
I float in my sphere; assuring myself this is it, so I call home, one last time.

“Captain?”
“Dodge. Go ahead.”
“I’ve made it to the influx.” I hear Roy sigh in relief, in amazement, in fear.
“I knew you would, Dodge. I knew you would.”
(Pause)
“Hey, you take care up there, okay?” Roy says.
“Roger that.”
“Goodbye Dodge.”
“Ten-four.”


I have four lines left in me, and I inscribe them into the ship’s hull:


“If it weren’t for Sara,
And if it weren’t for her lips,
I don’t think I would have known,
Mystery still exists.”

And the end; my credits roll. If I were a film, I wouldn’t want the audience to know how I ended. “What happened to him?” They’d ask.
And ambivalence overflows the mind.

I roll back the reel of final memories, and they spin in slow motion on the walls of my frontal lobe.

Only darkness creeps in my ship, but outside, as the stars and celestials burn, my soul burrows itself inside me.

Their disintegration begins, the reels dissipate, and I’m left with the image of Sara in the garden, hiding in the Azaleas.

The petals are falling, and as her face becomes visible – I’m peering through the flowers – I forget.

My memory is corrupt, and her face is a blank.
A body with a blur.

It’s what I wanted, but I hate it.
Sara’s puffed lips, her opaque eyes – gone.

Gone with those white lights, and their deafening lure.


“Ready to dance?” she says.