The Mold Inside the Fruit

The Mold Inside the Fruit

A Story by Taylor St. Onge

trying to make sense of my grief like


Sucking the venom out doesn’t work, it’s a lie.  A myth. Once bitten, you will still die. Shed your skin.  Try to grow out of it. It won’t work. Trauma is this way, too.  I’m tired of acting like it never happened, I’m tired of acting like it’s all okay.  Like I sucked the venom out and it worked. (Placebo effect on myself?) I want to go back before I was bitten.  

Back to hot chocolate and Pillsbury waffles in front of the TV in my pajamas before school.  To snow pants and boots and holding my cold toes up in front of the fireplace. How do you turn back time?  Or better yet, how do you purposely forget something you spend hours and days and years thinking about? How do you inflict self-amnesia?  

I want the memory of a f*****g goldfish.  I want to live in the moment and start over and over and over and over again.  I want to stop living in the past and dreaming about the hypothetical future.  

They used to burn women at the stake for having thoughts like mine.  They used to lock them away and expose them to prolonged electrical shocks.  Used to cut out the problem, a surgeon slicing away the malignant bit. This is what I want to happen to me.  A bit like a lobotomy. Something to take it all out; take it out and hide it away, burn it in acid, anything, anything, anything.  

Genie the Wild Child has no words for her emotions because she did not learn her first language soon enough.  Does she know this? Does she realize and understand this? I want this, but with specific memories only. I don’t want to talk about it anymore.   

+ + +

Somewhere in Seattle Grace, Izzy Stevens is cutting Denny Dukett’s LVAD driveline with a pair of scissors.  Somewhere in St. Luke’s, a family is directing the nursing staff to turn off the ventilator, to take out the tube, to unhook the machines.  There is a difference between these two instances--but is there, really?

My mother did not want her organs donated even though she would have been a perfect candidate.  

The grief cycle says it’s valid and right for me to feel angry about this, but it doesn’t feel valid and right.  

Most days I don’t think about it, I don’t feel about it.  I don’t talk about it. There are so many things I wish I could say, but I don’t know how.  

Would I have been labeled as at risk for my bereavement when she died?

I’m tired.  My shoulders are aching from this ten-year-old grief I’ve been lugging around everywhere.  It’s heavy. I want to put it down, want a break, but let’s be realistic about this.

+ + +

It’s physical.  Like the coffee-splotch birthmark on my stomach.  Like the extra piece of cartilage in my ear or the additional strand of tissue in my sister’s heart.  Something I carry on my person without even thinking about it or seeing it most of the time. Autonomic, of sorts.  

Does the Earth think about the moon caught in its gravitational pull?  Does Saturn think about its rings, about its ice chunks and planetoids satelliting around and around and around until it's too dizzy to stay in one place?  Head to the end of a baseball bat, face down to the ground, running in circles until walking is impossible.  

This is how it feels: good and good and good and then bad.  

Does the snake realize it’s eating its tail or is it unconscious to the pain?  

I want to see it as something separate from myself.  Something I can take out and throw away.  

+ + +

It’s palpable, but it’s not.  Something I carry, something that holds weight.  It is not the bone cleaving in half, the tissue shredding, the vessel bursting, the valve exploding.  Feels like it, though. Always feels like it--feels like everything, feels like nothing.  

The opposite of pain is not its absence, but the numbness it creates in its aftermath.  

The limb that falls asleep.  The blood rushing back into the core.  The blood rushing back to the lowest point of the body.  The rainwater sliding through the earth and across the top of my mother’s casket.  I could dig miles and miles down into the icy hot core of the earth and still feel numb.  This is what she has done to me.  

The thick mop of mums my grandfather planted in front of her tombstone will wilt soon if they haven’t already.  I’m tired of perennial flowers. They never bloom again for me. I’m tired of succulents, tired of cacti. I can’t keep them alive anyhow.  The goldfish are belly-up. The hamster is dead on its wheel. My mother’s dog, Sierra, is lying in rigor mortis in front of the basement door.  

The bacteria are growing now that the nerves have stopped firing.  Does she feel this? Or does it feel numb, numb, numb? Does it feel like absolute zero--a devil hanging upside down in the seventh circle of hell has no atoms, has no neutrons, has no electrons to hum, hum, hum it to life.  How far away from the sun do you have to be for all movement to stop?  

+ + +

This is not what you want to hear.  It’s never the right words on command.  Never the pure gold baby, the yellow daffodils, the cross-stitching of a cheetah hanging on my grandmother’s kitchen wall that my grandfather made when he could still see.  It’s never the right thing on cue.  

The body does a thing where it attacks its own cells just for the hell of it.  A brain tumor grows, an aneurysm bursts, and then it’s all wrong, looks like static, feels like static, sounds like static, but it’s not; it’s not stagnant.  Its fast and then it’s slow.  

My grief is not circular, not a five or seven stage cycle.  It’s a black hole growing bigger and bigger and bigger until it pulls me in slowly or quickly.  Spaghettification could either hurt a lot or a little. The colors I see when I rub my eyes too hard for too long look like the wrong words, feel like the wrong words, sound like the wrong words.  An atom split in half, a planet turning on its axis, a blood moon in mid-June.   

© 2019 Taylor St. Onge

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Wow! This feels so deeply personal, and I can relate to it on so many levels. I can feel the pain and the quagmire of self-annihilation, the self-doubt that swirls like an eddy, threatening to pull you under. There are tears here cloaked in anger but not really anger, just the lingering questions and desire for difference, the wish for erasure from pain. I was able to really dive into your words, in between the lines of your emotions. There is no numbness here just the frailty of being human, and I find that beautiful. You fully slit a vein and rained. Well done.

Posted 4 Years Ago

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1 Review
Added on October 17, 2019
Last Updated on October 17, 2019
Tags: grief, bereavement, loss, death, mother, trauma, emotional, family


Taylor St. Onge
Taylor St. Onge

Milwaukee, WI

Hi. I like literature a lot. more..