Fathom 2005



Inside Cover



Sara Squires (2)
Ann Leslie (2)
Jennifer Clarke
Patricia Murray
Kari Gunderson
Heather E. Thomson
B.D. Mitchell
Wesley Colbath
Brooke Gray
Christopher Misura
Robyn Goldsmith
Michael Kimber
Italian Stallion
Oghomwen Ehigie
B. C. Hackett
Deanna Foster
Jonathan Rotztain
Sarah Lofton


Jonathan Rotztain
Robyn Goldsmith
Sonjel Vreeland
Connor Robinson


Robyn Goldsmith



The Memory of Bodies Intertwined

     There is nothing in my life right now except these empty corridors and white walls, the voices in my head and sameness. I can’t tell how long it is since I’ve been here, and every time I ask they tell me lies. Even Anna lies to me; she tells me every day that I will leave soon. I don’t think I’ll ever leave.
I’ve registered some recent memories in my head. The way the windows look in the morning when the sun shines in, the way Joe’s stubble felt on the palm of my hand, and the taste of the cookies that Anna brought me. These are the pleasant things that linger.
     When I came here Anna was with me but it wasn’t her car. It was a new car, or at least a car with new leather, and the smell was intoxicating. It must have been Joe’s car, but Joe wasn’t there, and I was glad of that. I didn’t want to see him or think of him. I wished that one of us had never existed.
     When I met Joe I liked him, I even shook his hand. He was one of those beautiful, endearing people, one of those guys you think you could forgive for anything. I met him at a party, I’m not sure where or when it was, but when I saw him again I knew his face. He had his tie tied just right, he had a beautiful and confident wife; he had a hearty laugh. I know why Anna liked him, but I don’t know why I had to see them together like that. Like that in my bed, their bodies intertwined, their flesh and sweat, the fluids of their bodies on the sheets I slept on.
     It was one month later that I came here, one month later that I rode in that car with Anna. I didn’t like it then, didn’t like Anna being alone in the world with Joe out there, but here they have beautiful Arbutus trees and a lawn, so I can be happy. I am happy when I don’t know how long I have been here and when I only think of Anna the way she is when she visits. I do not think of before and I do not think of after. Anna is in my memory as the woman who comes with baking in flower print dresses, and because of this I can hold no anger towards her.
     My memory of that day is progressing into photographic snapshots: a closed door, a tangle of sheets, two naked bodies, and her twisted face. The sounds, too, are spliced: voices unhushed, cries, and the banging of a body against the headboard. My love has digressed to photographs and tortured memories, so I am trying my best to live within these white walls and within this moment.
     When I saw them it was the afternoon; I was supposed to be at work. It was three months since I’d seen him, but only 3 hours since I’d seen her. I came home to pick up a file.
     I deteriorated quickly. I tried to forgive her, but my rage was so great that I couldn’t. I couldn’t do anything except bottle it up and sit like a silent wall of confusion and hurt. Their tangled bodies and hushed whispers. The banging and the closed door. The scene plays for me in its mocking snap shots when my eyes are closed or open, wherever I am.
     Anna tried to apologize. “Tom,” she said, “I’m sorry. I can’t say anything except I’m sorry.” All I could do was cry. She rubbed my shoulder and I pulled away. I loved her and she left me. She never left our house, but she left me. I treated her as if she wasn’t there; I didn’t hear or see her.
      “Tom,” she pleaded, “please Tom, we can work through this. You just need to look at me, and listen to me.” There was nothing in me but hurt, a hurt that let itself out in a deep roar.
“Arrrrgh!” I screamed in her face, and continued screaming as loud as I could. She tells me this went on for weeks, the screaming, but I only remember a blur of days. She said she couldn’t take it anymore, so she took me to a doctor and then brought me here.
     “I want a divorce,” she said once. “I think it’s best.” I ignored her. They tell me that I am depressed, that I am a manic depressive, and that I need help. I don’t think I have a problem, I just have a lot of shit to get together. I don’t mind it here; there are a lot of trees and the doctors are nice. I feel caged but I sort of like that, I’m confined to a controlled space and I only see Anna if I want to, and I never see Joe. Sometimes I want to see him, to look at him to remove the image of his sweaty body from my head, to replace that image with one that is less obtrusive. I won’t see him, though. No one will let him come here, because I am under medical treatment. They think he could pull some kind of trigger in my brain and make me violent. I hit him once; I was in a fit of rage and threw my hand across his face. I didn’t hit Anna, but I wanted to.
     As it is, he is almost present because I think about him so often. It’s like he’s here, sometimes in my bed with Anna. Sometimes I can picture her lips saying his name when she speaks to me. Instead of “Tom”, she says “Joe,” and the words she forms are directed at him. This is when I ask Anna to leave, when her presence becomes a burden. She is part of my past now and I don’t think she can be a part of my future.
     Today as I wait for Anna I sit under a tree with a book, watching the few cars drive up to the main building. I haven’t seen her red car yet, so she is late. There have been two black cars and a green car, but no red ones. When a red one does come by I notice that there are two people in the car, and Anna isn’t driving. The driver is a male. Every nerve in my body tenses; I know who the man is. I can see a face inside my head and the silhouette of the driver matches it.
     I wait for a while, and soon they come out of the building with visitors’ passes and a doctor. Anna walks ahead a little, while the doctor and Joe linger behind. She is holding papers in her hand.
      “Tom,” she says, “these are divorce papers. I want you to sign them.” I think there are tears in her eyes, but I can’t be sure.
      “Why?” I ask.
      “Because we can’t be together. Joe and I are together now.” Joe and the doctor still haven’t approached, but I can see them watching.
      “And you’re going to leave me here? Who will visit me? When will I leave?”
      “I will still visit,” she says, “I’ll see you as much as I do now, just not as man and wife.” I have no choice, I am at her mercy. If I refuse, I could be left here. There would be no one to release me to.
      “I’ll sign it,” I say, “but never come with him again. I want this to be the last time I see him.” Joe nods, and Anna agrees. The pen touches the paper and we are no longer a unity. I am no longer bound to her, the woman who broke my heart, the woman who made me silent. Our only contact will be a weekly visit, and she will be able to converse with doctors and I will get better. Once I leave I will have erased Joe and Anna’s memories, and I will attach them to old places, to this hospital and to my bedroom, but I will be elsewhere.
     They stay for a while longer and all that time I want them to leave. I am no longer defined by her, by my relationship with her, and I will emerge from here a new man. I will be reborn.


last updated August 17, 2007 | © 2007 Fathom Publishing
poetry, prose, and artwork © individual authours | website created by Alana Paul