A #RemixReallySystem story by friend-of-the-journal Charlotte Fressilli, based on this pile of text.
The Perks of Loving a Cabbie
When I climbed to Heaven I could feel my feet sifting through granules of cumulonimbus the way they once dragged through Cape Cod sand and the heaviness made me so tired I had to stop and rest. Huffing my soul’s salty breath out of cracking lips, I strained to remember the summer hush of dry red wine passing through them, chasing down pasta, but I could not.
When you climbed to Heaven they offered you the escalator but you took the stairs. So slight you are, but somehow you made it easily and the wives of the cloud-workers stopped their stitching and watched you samba past their windows.
When I climbed to Heaven I went wondering. Weeks of ascent I spent feeling the crook of a wooden spoon still imprinted on my palm and I tried to sing the way my mother taught me but all I could think of was the Yankees and how that grass looks in the middle of the Bronx.
When you climbed to Heaven, the Rainbow Widows watched you glide on the atmosphere and they cheered out their assessments of your grace in quadrilles wrung from the scarves they dipped in pools of their syrupy paint.
When I climbed to Heaven, my steps seemed an allegory—what were they telling me?—and I thought on it ceaselessly but it made the trek harder and so I clicked my tongue against the roof of my mouth instead.
When you climbed to Heaven you did not question why. You have always understood better than I do what writers often try to say and only stand-up comedians truly know: when the time is right, you walk.
As I climbed to Heaven, I called out for reason, at least reason.
As you climbed to Heaven, you thought only of me and called out, “Cora!”
When we met in Heaven it was closed. We had disenfranchised ourselves. Our visit was unlicensed.
I sobbed and counted my sins: the summers spent huffing the vapors of wine instead of teaching what needed to be taught; the lies I had written in quadrilles and allegories to keep them hidden from even myself, buried beneath the pool; the weeks’ worth of assessments and replacements I had parceled out into granules of my time.
Then I looked at you, at the slightness of you, and somehow your eyes were dry. You switched your headlamp back on, took me by the hand and lead the way back down to earth on foot. It was only when we were among the trees that I realized—saw in those eyes—that the door had been open to you where it had been closed to me.
What could I do but love you for your sacrifice and thank fate to have been the wife of a cabbie. You guys have always understood better than I do what writers often try to say and only stand-up comedians truly know: when the time is right, you walk.
Charlotte Fressilli is a senior at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, majoring in English and Italian Studies. She acts as the Co-Editor to Rushlight, Wheaton’s literary magazine.