Natural Causes

It was the second day of spring. We sat outside on the back patio. Enjoyed one of those days where it’s nice enough to notice the crows, and contemplate the flies, and ignore the lingering cold.

        You played guitar while I blew bubbles, and we both laughed when we realized that we’d been staring at the sky, dumbstruck, for almost a minute. You screwed up some chords in the process. Still laughing, I said, “I forgot this was here!” and gestured at the blue sky as you agreed, “Sunlight!” Then you went on strumming, and I picked up my notebook﹣trying to write a metaphor as I observed a flock of bubbles:

        Bubbles, like those sparse moments of clarity and presence.

        [You and I on the ride home from your dad’s house, a cold pack of Guinness leaning up against my leg. How the melting snow looked on the rooftops of condemned houses from inside of your car. How sorry they looked as we passed, and how the sorry-ness of it all didn’t fill me with dread like it used to. I was on the verge of believing the depravity of my hometown, my noise filled head, was a physical threat you could save me from﹣a rabid dog you could run over with your car and leave behind for good.]

        Glittering despite the crinkly blue tarps, and rusting Subarus, and chipped paint.

        [One time I asked you if Trix cereal still existed, like Santa Clause or the Easter Bunny. And you said, “Yeah, but we can’t see the shapes anymore.” I contemplated how it seemed like one day the shapes were there, and the next day they were gone. I looked at you sideways, and you explained further, “Trix just appear as regular puffs to us now because we’re adults.” And I love you so much for saying that; I’m going to hold on to that forever.]

        Beyond the houses stained black from pollution, with the sunken porches and lopsided staircases.

        Most of the bubblers sunk to the ground, popping on stones. While others flew upward in a kind of fury, right before they got caught in the neighboring fence. But I saw one linger, high above the treetops.

        [The night I sobbed into your chest about the unfairness of feeling. How one second they could be so real, and the next﹣so stale and so forced. How I felt sick to my stomach as you tried to console me, because I’d fully realized the damage of my past. How I was afraid of you, and everyone. Of all the coming and going that people do. To a point where I had been hurtful, so full of resentment for the way things are﹣hadn’t always told myself the truth. I contemplated how long I’d been angry at the complexity of others juxtaposed with my own. How many people I’d cast aside under black and white pretenses that I didn’t totally believe in﹣because of how badly I wanted everything to be simple, and for me to be simple with it. I contemplated all of this before I asked, “Why me?”]

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Cat Olson is a Buffalo State College graduate and works for the Times Observer in Warren, PA. In her spare time she keeps up a personal blog and dreams about applying to grad school. She resides in Jamestown, NY.