Aiming for a creative life

I Am Santo

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He died right here. Calia tried to imagine what it was like, closing her eyes and hearing the slap of water against the pilings. He’d heard this sound too. He must have. Or maybe he didn’t because of the clanging chains he’d lugged out, tied to himself and latched to a few cinderblocks with a padlock like some old time mob hit. Calia centered herself and reached out with her mind to lapsed tides. She could feel him in the decaying planks under her crossed legs, troubled energy swarming like gnats in a swamp around her. She kept her eyes shut and hummed lightly. Calia had never met Joseph, not consciously, but when she read about him in the paper, she felt a tug at her stomach, the kind of draw present when crossing paths with an old soul known from another lifetime. And now she sensed more of him, cloudy still but clearing the way summer rains did back in Florida where she grew up. She thought about his name and there was a flash of red, shoes, Converse Chucks and then a woman’s smile, very white with straight teeth. She was love, pretty, tan-skinned. Calia hummed, her body falling away, sensations of loss and regret washing over her as if they were the water in which he’d immersed himself. Her breathing stayed steady but slow, and she tried not to struggle with increased feelings of suffocation teasing the edges of chest, tightening around her like a noose. She breathed in and he was there with her, a fury of pain and longing focused at the center of them both. She saw his glow then, through his purple t-shirt, a searing hot iron of hurt like a fault line. “Why’d you let go?” she begged, and he grinned in her mind, eyes glassy. He was rolling on something heavy, too many weightless thoughts careening inside, but that burning at his core grabbed at her and she fell into his sternum scars and secrets, delving into his skin where she saw the stony face of his father, the furrows of regret creasing his uncle’s forehead and the tear-swollen eyes of his mother. Calia winced, snapping her eyes open. Her body had grown as heavy as the blocks that held Joseph down but ultimately set him free, so she too let go and cried for a friend she never met.

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