Arris looks right into my eyes and I shiver so hard I think I might die. ‘Are you ok,’ she says. I tell her I think she hit a nerve. I can feel her pressed against my being, strumming across my sinews like some cosmic harpist. The sound of a solitary droplet striking the surface of a subterranean spring. I quiver, don’t die, and listen to it resonate. ‘I can hear you thinking,’ she says, a tuning fork tapped against bone. Inside my skull, I say, I don’t doubt it, and she smiles wide enough to swallow me whole.
Sometimes Caleb talks to make more room in his head. ‘They’ll find god one day and they won’t even realise.’ I picture the man who vents the gas chamber, distant eyes carrying heavy bags. ‘It’ll be an element or particle, an insistent function, something constituent and causal. Whatever existence needs to persist that can’t be seen or affected.’ I know this process isn’t for me, yet wonder if it continues in my absence. ‘In the beginning, a deity dying, its body breaking down into the natural order like cosmic fertiliser, decomposition composing life.’ Has it always been this way?