lake union, bright white light

quiet and tired

dark night during the long ride

a family trip: me, sandwiched between my brother and sister

rental car, middle seat

always the baby

then, bright white light in the corner of my eye

and I saw them

image zips by; it’s coming quickly, so I turn:

bright, smiling, laughing people

I turn my head, and my breath gets quicker

young, white, smiling, bright, happy, put-together people

I turn my head

drink in hand: well-dressed, casual

I turn my head

white walls, big canvas, vast windows, glowing

they’re flying past, escaping my selfish eyes

running away, faster and faster

car moves forward, relentlessly

I’m desperate, and excited– please, please don’t leave

the car continues

and so I cling to the memory as much as I can

eyes widen as I pull apart the shrinking bright white light

as it fades in the distance I refuse to let it leave: stretching, intensifying, spreading it across my consciousness, embracing it with my arms, holding tight, squeezing

hoping that it’s big enough to stick, please stick, please stay

alone, and longing

I watch

it’s so beautiful, I smile

my mind is filled with that bright white light

thrilled, I sigh

shit,

release

I get to the room and sit, it shrinks:

smaller

I wheeze out every last bit of air

smaller

think about the bright, white, smiling people

think about laughing with the bright, white, smiling people

snap a photo

not of them, of nothing

a sad consolation prize, like any other

wonder who else is contained in the building across the lake, who else is smiling, reveling in the bright white light

turn on the TV, I don’t know the channels

crinkly sheets, also too tight

quiet

discontent

unsettling emptiness

always fleeting bright white light and a sad mind pulling it closer and closer only for it to pull away and rapidly dissolve

then, sleep