Reaction Coupling

Tom is dead. They came to tell me this morning. Of course, they didn’t say that he was dead; they used another word instead. Tom was never alive, according to the Constitution, thus he cannot be dead.

The man that came to tell me is probably a few years my senior. He was plain-clothed, so to speak, but he still stuck out like a sore thumb in this place. I stared at his shoes and started to cry. He thought that it was because of what he was saying but it wasn’t. I’ve known in my heart for days that Tom is dead, but if he were alive and here with me he would have liked the punctuate fern pattern on those shoes. The pair of them and him, our imitations of nature. He would have laughed.

I wish I could remember what the man said. I wish I had listened, looked him in the eye and asked him where my baby was in a voice that was loaded with venomous disdain. Instead I cried again and when I managed to ask about the baby it was in an unhinged, screaming voice with tears and mucus streaming down my face. I think I ripped his suit in an attempt to stop him leaving, but he got away anyway.

You can find the complete version of Reaction Coupling in issue 62 of TBD.

Sacha Haworth