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You died that day

Words: Sarah Jayne Fell

You died that day, a Monday in May. 8am traffic is always worse on Mondays. Hooters denote all flavours of bad language as a polka-dotted vehicle turns right in a left-only lane, and a man with no legs riding a wheelbarrow weaves between the stopped-up patchwork of cars; a most pragmatic form of transport at this hour. You died that day. And lectures as usual; one in the musty room that smells of chips and feet and has no windows only hospital lighting and air-conditioning that sucks out all oxygen and replaces it with stench and paralysed limbs and headaches. You died that day that we drank cappuccino and smoked cigarettes, pulled leaves out of hair and considered the new French exchange student at the other table. You would have liked him. You died that day and I sang along to the radio on the way home, as my right arm toasted in the sun while I drove, and I sang; while perhaps not so far away you were dying. You died that day I got home and ate dinner alone; watched TV and flicked through the Sunday paper. You died that day and I got a phone call watching Grey’s Anatomy – dropped down dead, she said, at the video store where you worked; and afterward I sat, rigid, staring; and only cried at the end of the show when the nice doctor left the intern for his ex-wife.

© Sarah Jayne Fell

Written as part of a final Creative Writing portfolio, ‘11 Snapshots: An Exploration of Flash Fiction and Prose Poetry’, as part of an Honours Degree in English completed at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban in 2007. It was subsequently published in the American Literary Magazine ‘The Laundry Room’ and in Moolman, K. (ed) ‘Fidelities XIV – A Selection of Contemporary South African Poetry’.