• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 11
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As she plays she thinks of her own wedding day
the feeling of the mask going on
at the altar
wild thing, he whispered,
you make my
the last lines lost as he snapped the strap around her head
and caught some of the hairs that had broken free.
It smelled raw inside, like the inside of a tree.
Rubber has its own stink.
A tar-borne headache, a latex drink, a swim in a pitch lake.
Hevea brasiliensis, she said. Neoprene. Vulcanisation.
Vulcanise me
She brought the view to its knees.
The visor steamed up until he knocked on it, once, twice:
Keep up!
the congregation
were singing like their batteries were dying
and someone –
it must have been one of her bridesmaids,
she thinks now –
kick-started her oxygen at the back
and just like that
life became a series of ins and outs, upbeats, downbeats
no staccato only languorous sonorous in out in out
in out
breathing regulated
as air in an aquarium
or in an aria.

Deep breaths.



She plays at weddings now, like this one, gets set up in a corner often garlanded with flowers, plays while the women walk down the aisle to the men waiting with their masks on embroidered pillows
always surprised, always, at the moment when the visor steams up,
and it always does.

And as to whether it’s from tears or condensation or fear or the rubber or the river outside or bad manufacturing:

She can’t say.