The During is a Deep, Wide Pit

Lindsey Neely

              I knew last night that today would suck but I watched the testimony anyway because you have to know the whole truth and nothing but the truth before you can turn the page of the book you’re reading and begin the last chapter which I pray is titled The Bad Guys Get Their Just Desserts.

              I knew listening and learning would suck but I did it anyway and I heard these terrible awful things I hadn’t heard Before and I learned new things and I thought of things differently but the Others are still stuck in the During and their words lasso my ankles and drag me back to the During even though I watched the During live on tv I was able to drag myself to the After but only because I wasn’t there when the Others bled and were blue and red and traumatized all over.

              I knew I’d get stuck in the During because it’s happened before and I knew it would suck and I knew I would slip to autopilot and my body would float through the After even though that testimony hit the pause button on my brain and my brain kept replaying the new information and evaluating the words and the glances and the breaths and I looked for an answer that would satisfy but there are none.

              I knew I’d feel guilty after eating ice cream but sometimes self-medicating can be self-care and it’s cold and it numbs and maybe I can make my mouth as numb as my suspended feelings and maybe when they sync it will propel me back to the After and I must have had a look on my face because the ice cream lady asked me if I wanted a lid for my pint of ice cream but I’m too busy chasing the After for a lid to stick.

Lindsey Neely is a technical writer-editor living in the Washington, DC metro area. Her work can be found in or is forthcoming in Coffin Bell, Wretched Creations Magazine, and Dream Journal. She’d like to thank her support network—they know who they are. Find her on Twitter: @lindseyneely.