This one’s skin was colder than most, must’ve kept him on ice. “Do you know how cold skin feels after 12 hours?” I often talked to them, told them my woe’s, discussed local news, updated them on my (nonexistent) social life. They never talked back, yelled or hit you. Their silence a perfect companion for my words. “I do. When I was 7 my workaholic father died of alcohol poisoning. The first hour was okay, he still felt the same when I hugged him, but then he started to feel cold. I brought over a blanket after 3 hours and hugged him, he still wasn’t any warmer. My neighbor visited me when she noticed he hadn’t gone to work and I hadn’t gone to school. She pulled me away. The last time I hugged him he was cold.”
I inched the seductive point of a needle into his skin, pressed buttons worn from years of use, winked back at the flashing green lights waving at me, heard the accordion-like compressor try to carry a tune without a bucket.
Red slowly skipped into the tube, it didn’t know that it would later be a permanent guest at a toxic waste facility. The second tube, snakelike in appearance, slowly pumped formaldehyde into the body. Giving it back warmth. “You know that my job as a diener is to embalm people like you, yes? Will I disagree, I think that my purpose is to give people back their warmth.”
I relate a lot to my machines. They have one purpose and they fulfill it day in and day out. I’ve always strived to be like my machine’s and I think that you can see that a lot in how I live my life. Everyday I wake up at 6 am, get to work by 6:30. From 7 till 12 I work before I finally take a break for lunch. Get home at 5 and sit down to dinner and a tv show by 7. This is the same for every person in the world, everybody lives a mechanical, cookie-cutter life. I fulfill my purpose, but lately I’ve found myself disenchanted with my life. No longer do I find myself satisfied with giving back warmth to those who’ve lost it. The cold has become such a normal thing, why are we not all cold? And why oh why does humanity try to be as machine as it can be.
This endless cycle of the same day again and again and again, it’s a hell loop that none of us can break free of. I feel that the more machine I become the more my humanity shines through.’ ”
The faces of eager, young freshmen were all entranced by the reading and you could hear an audible groan as their professor stopped and turned to address the class.
“This is an excerpt from the diary of famed Scottish serial killer, Olga White. The class you are in is the criminal mind and if you look at your syllabus you’ll find her at the top. By the end of this course you’ll have written an essay on the link between Olga’s childhood and killing spree. Now, any questions?”
Eyes Full of Stars (cont.)
The other person held tighter. She held them back. She nuzzled her head into their chest, a single tear trailing down her cheek.
“Just– Just focus on the stars.”
“They’re so bright. I’m holding on, but I can feel you slipping away. Stay. Please, please stay!”
“I’m here, I’m here! I’m not ever going to leave you! Hold on, hold on tight!” Her grip on her hand tightened as her voice faded, getting quieter, more distant.
“I’m trying! I’m holding as tight as I can. The stars, I can see them but– but they’re fading. Don’t go! Please, don’t do that, don’t float away!”
Her hand stopped holding hers back. “Please, please! Hold on, just hold on. Hold on, just– just a little– a little longer. Just a little tighter.” Her voice strained. She hoped it could still be heard. “Please, please.”
“I can’t see the stars anymore. Please, come back to me! It’s so dark. It’s so, so dark. Please let me see the stars again. I’m so cold, so alone.” There was no reply. “Please, It’s so dark here.”