A text by the 2018 Sozopol Fiction Seminars fellow and CapitaLiterature participant Sofie Verraest
It may seem like nothing to you but you have to understand there was this life I was heading for like for a heavy-ass truck on the highway – fast, loose – and it was like all of a sudden I was getting a preview of it.
All of a sudden I was in the wreck, after the blow, and it was not that my elbow was just bleeding or anything, my head resting softly on the airbag, a little stunned, it was not that kind of a crash, no. It was more that my elbow had flown away from my body somewhere and I had actually had the presence of mind to watch it fly off you understand? More like that. More like I thought oh fuck, that's my arm. Oh all fucks in the universe, that's my arm there. That thing flying through the air. It still bends on the elbow. Watch it bend, motherfucking fuck.
In reality it wasn't that bad of course. In reality it was just a bleeding elbow. I had scraped it on the rough wall in the hallway changing a lightbulb and my wife was now dabbing at the blood and then putting one of these white gauze things around it that always give me the creeps because in all honesty what is that, is it a solid piece of cloth or is it a net?
She was wrapping it around my elbow violently, with fast whirs. Whir, whir, she went, with her cheeks flushed and red fury stains all over her throat and chest because she was still so pissed off with me, not because of the light bulb or the elbow, no, because of something that had happened, or really that she thought had happened, really nothing at all, at least nothing I want to talk to her about ‘cause she has it all backwards, my wife, let me tell you.
I stood there in the hallway and she was winding the thing so tightly around my elbow my fingers were starting to tingle and pretty soon I was going to lose all feeling in them, actually I was going to lose all feeling in the entire lower part of my arm when I looked at my wife who was fuming like a dunghill in a winter landscape and then looked at the bulb that was not changed yet because I had to go and scrape my elbow so it was just hanging there dark, dangling like some useless dick, underperforming you might say, and in that moment, I swear, it was like I was getting a preview of what was coming, it was like I was in the wreck already, after the blow, it was like that in every single way except for the sweet release of death. That bit was missing.
*This text has been published in Green Mountains Review.
Sofie Verraest writes fiction and non-fiction and conducts research on literature, the city and architectural, urban and landscape design. She received her PhD from Ghent University and teaches at the Royal Arts Academy KASK. She lives in Brussels, where she founded Snug Harbor, a series of literature evenings in English. Her work has appeared or will appear in Ninth Letter, Green Mountains Review, Deus Ex Machina and elsewhere.