Voices from the Third Floor congratulates Elad Mirman, winner of our 2016 Breast Cancer Awareness Contest!
The muggy summers of New York City turned her soft, mellow skin clammy and oddly cold. Her touch was as gentle as that of an angel – almost unfelt yet overpowering. She lived on the second floor of an old development; a building whose once red bricks were now brown, and crumbling back into their natural form of grain.
The ruby autumn hairs on her head resembled the narrow roads of the city branching in all directions as if they were a map. She had skin white as cream and moderate wrinkles that gave her face depth. She often smelled sweet, not like a flower, but more like a pie or a cookie; a bee might confuse the two, the fragrance, the beauty, the elegance. Her plummy cheeks whose blood vessels glowed bright red – filling in her braided wrinkles with life and hope. Her eyes were the color of a forest after it rained – after the air has been cleared and nothing but goodness, purity and silent shimmering bliss remains. Those were her eyes. When she smiled her upper lip never extended past her gums, and her lower lip created a slight arc.
The apartment was always decorated with flowers in every corner: Crimson amaryllis flowers sat in a foamy blue vase by the kitchen, purple iris flowers rested in a crystal vase on the coffee table, and Persian rugs barricaded the bare wooden floors. She didn’t like them, the wooden floors I mean, they reminded her of winter. The winters made her bones ache. They felt like rusty bridges or old cables that connected her body by skin that would feel ancient, dry and fragile.
The windows remained open. Autumn came soon and they were still open. The sweet smell of cookies had dissolved with the polluted air of the city that blew through the apartment. The cotton white drapes turned a grayish color. They resembled the clouds, the color of cement as it just began to rain, to tear, cry, darken. The amaryllis flowers had died, pulled towards gravity, towards the earth, but where? The center? The soil? The petals shed all over the rugs as winds blew them. The rugs were covered in dust; her dust, her skin, pieces of her that were once alive. Or perhaps these were dust particles drawn from the entire city onto the rug – bits and pieces of human beings she had never seen or met sat in her living room like guests waiting for her return. Patiently they waited in silence. They had hope that she would return, but she didn’t.
They too began to diminish. The remaining living cells in her body fought the cancer. A cancer that was undetected, unseen, unheard, unscented, invisible and yet so very powerful. A cancer that used a compass to travel everywhere, her brain, her lungs, her skin, her blood, her pancreas, her liver, her gallbladder and her breasts. The flowers must have decomposed by now, the neighbors might have complained and the white cotton was now black, it was no longer a filter. Dead cells have traveled from all over the city to sit on her rug; they waited for her. They met one another in the abyss world.
Edited by Natalia-Marie Fiorio