Celia Bell

Winter 2018

Autumn: When I wake up, the light in the apartment is that opaque milk-blue that looks like it ought to be something you can touch. The sun’s rays catch flecks of airborne dust and hold them suspended. I watch as they inch across the floor toward my mattress. My body is heavy. I imagine my limbs weighted down into my bed, leaving an impression in the floor. 

I stretch my hand toward the panel of light, and because the days are cooler now, I feel its warmth on my fingers. I have to get up, but nothing in me wants to move. 

Before: After my brother’s funeral, I sublet my friend’s apartment in the city. When I arrive, it’s empty. The apartment across the hall is being renovated, and everything is coated in thick, white dust. My shoes leave tracks in it, door to window to door. Later, after I clean, the prints are reversed, the dust I track in from the hallway leaving pale smudges on the floor, marking the steps I’ve taken. I keep cleaning them, but the marks just change position. I leave a trail wherever I go.

Celia Bell is an MFA candidate at the New Writers Project in Austin, Texas. Her work has appeared in Bomb, Five Points, and the New York Times Magazine.

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