The cold had me tied up, lamed, coughing, feverish, sleepless. It was just a respiratory virus, not cancer, not a loss of limb, not a spill from a motorcycle or a mountain, not tuberculosis or the plague, but it laid me up.
–Here is what it means to be enfleshed.
–Who asked you, I said to my body. I turned over on the bed and ached on the other side. A truck has run over me, has left tire tracks on my smashed body.
Beyond me the day was dawning, cloudlessly. But in me there were storms of darkness, plazas without a light. My bones creaked.
–You won’t remember this pain, said the body. You are in Barcelona. You will take photographs of its vigor and recall its flavors.
I sneezed. My mouth had no taste, my ears no sound. Oranges grew on the roadside trees, but I could not smell their fizz.
Inside I burned and yearned for a sheepskin coat to keep me from shivering away, from bringing the burn to the outside.
I wanted sleep, a little death. In that I could be healed.
Cezarija Abartis' Nice Girls and Other Stories was published by New Rivers Press. Her stories have appeared in Manoa, Grey Sparrow Review, Twilight Zone Magazine, and New York Tyrant (which also gave her story The Lidano Fiction Award). "Penelope and David" is forthcoming from Story Quarterly. Recently she completed a novel, a thriller. She teaches at St. Cloud State University.