“Come and Gone”

I’ve got six hours of driving ahead of me, but I’m taking it easy with an iced coffee between my thighs. Cars rush by like they’ve got somewhere to be right now. My little baby girl cries in the back seat, closing her eyes against the mid-morning sun. I pull over and adjust the sunshade, and soon after, she’s cooing along with the singer on the radio, a husky-voiced woman with lots of rhythm and funk. Then little baby girl is out faster than you can say goodnight, her eyelashes leaving tiny feathery shadows behind. Because I have nothing but time and more time, I start thinking about all the spiritual voodoo I’ve been obsessing over for months — Reiki, shamans, even goddesses and tarot cards — and I’m going gooey inside, like s’mores after a good turn in a campfire. I’m all lit up with these thoughts, and for some reason, I’m envisioning myself naked in the middle of a pond like Mary Magdalene herself, serpents swimming toward me, slithery, silvery things that I’d be afraid of anywhere else. But in this vision, I’m curious, and when they enter me, all shimmer and sparkles, the electricity goes up my spine like some sort of kundalini awakening. All at once I’m ignited from root to crown, all my soft and hard spaces flowing like some ocean suspended in space. Little baby girl keeps snoring in the back, and the cars keep rushing by while I lean into this moment like you’d lean into a delicious wind, your face and skin soaking up all the smoothness. The trip goes on this way, hours of stars gently exploding inside my body. Finally, we near home. Dusk is here, the sun lending us its light for just a few moments more, and little baby girl is awake now, her eyes wide as she takes in the green forest and violet sky. When I pull into my driveway, I stop the car and take little baby girl’s hand in mine. She gurgles, smiling, gripping. I watch as the last trace of light fades from behind the trees, realizing I shouldn’t think about it, when my own bliss will fade, but it’s too late — the moment has come and gone, already a memory.

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About Juliana Crespo

Juliana Crespo’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in North American Review, Hobart, Literary Orphans, Flash Fiction Magazine, Mothers Always Write, Mud City Journal, Ruminate, Fiction Southeast, among others. She is an English teacher at a high school in Bloomington, Indiana, where she also lives with her family.