In today’s New Voices, we are thrilled to share an experimental flash CNF from Daniel Garcia: “July 2015: A Compendium.” Garcia’s compendium, presented as a triptych, offers three modes of exploration through grief and trauma. “July 2015: A Compendium” is a testament to the emotional heft of brevity. Read on below.
betroth(-al) | \bi-ˈtrōt͟h
v. to promise one’s self to another; to be true.
n. a space wherein two people circle together and then fuse.
hope | /hōp/
v. to bridge, as if having shot an arrow, across the interstice between dream and touch.
n. the bloom, red and slow, in my sternum, the day we met; you’d taken me in your arms after calling my name in Spanish—I’d spun to see you, hurrying, trying to reach me.
remains | /rəˈmānz/
v. to continue occupying a space one has taken residence in; to wait, to stay.
n. the parts existing once other essential pieces have been discarded, abandoned, removed, or have otherwise ceased to be.
In bed, six months after I left you, I’ll curse myself: for not leaving after the first blow, for flinching while you begged me to stay; how I lobstered in my dorm’s shower after the first assault. And the day you visited me at work, sober for once, lips rustling through my hair: I hear it still.
In class, ten months later: I’ll remember, sob. The dream I have—us, older, gray; a ring circling my finger; a whisper in my ear, my name, that you’ll always love me: I see it still.
In your apartment, on our last night, in July: a dance before this second killing of consent; my hands at your chest; the rift our lips abbreviate before your drunk, piercing fingers as I consider the wall, just before I stumble out: I feel it still.
1. Romance language that it is, me faltas tú in Spanish doesn’t fully translate to I miss you in English. The difference isn’t so much I am sad the arrow failed to reach the target, but more I remain unfinished in my dream of the arrow reaching the target. It is to circle a negative space, a forced deficiency—vacancy, occupied. Thus, it might be more accurate to say I am rendered incomplete by your absence, which I find to be both sad and beautiful.
2. Before writing this essay, I came across the etymology of betroth on a site with several similarly spelled words. It sat in gray; I was on the page dedicated to it. Right above was betrayer, which I found to be a bright shade not unlike spilled wine, like freshly dried blood—dull, blooming.