• Vol. 01
  • Chapter 12
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There were voices outside the classroom, searching, but they faded. Then silence and then the click click click as the lights were turned off. It is getting hot in here, inside the papier mache volcano. The grade three teacher uses it to demonstrate the power of baking soda, vinegar and food colouring. How long have I been here? At the school, twenty four years. In this humiliating position, crouched inside an experiment, maybe an hour. I strip off layers, which is awkward in this crouched position, but that doesn’t help with the heat, the sweat rising from my pink skin. I am the molten core of the earth. The smells of sweat and vinegar mingle in the warm air. Hannibal used vinegar to dissolve the rocks that blocked his path crossing the Alps. Perhaps that is what is going to happen to me. I will dissolve instead and there will be no eruption.

I am the old man I dream about, lonely on the cliff’s edge. There are no retirement parties here. Just the sky, which can’t hear, and the rocks, which are too stubborn to listen. Listen.

I am the old man you dream about, preparing to dissolve into space.