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First a bomb, then an explosion, then debris, then light

by beccalicious94

When I left you, a bomb exploded in my body cavity. Throughout the time we were together, I kept one hand on the bomb at all times, acutely aware that even the smallest of movements could set the thing off. After the impact, I saw layers of skin hanging on the maple tree outside of your Brooklyn apartment. Trails of blood followed me through the route of retracing our relationship. I ask myself when it all went wrong, I ask myself when it was ever right. Was I asleep when you put that bomb there, or, perhaps, was I awake, no sedation, no intoxication, no anesthetic, handing you the scalpel.

When I signed up to be a (posthumous) organ donor, I never could have imagined seeing my organs sitting on 6th avenue as if waiting for the F train. Kidneys, liver, lungs, heart, pancreas, intestines. Corneas, tissues, hands, face. What had I signed up for? How could one person receive everything? How could one person be so deficient that they needed everything? 

When I go out to retrieve my insides and outsides, I do it alone. There is no lost and found, no posters, no hype. I can offer no financial incentive for information or help or assistance. What do you do with fragile tissue that’s been left out for so long? Exposed to the elements, cut off from the interconnected vital systems. With no medical degree, and limited upper body strength, I have two measly offerings of saline solution. Solution might be a bit of an overstatement.

When I collect myself, I go for the corneas first. Sight. I want to know where I am, I want to see the destruction, the debris, the length times width times depth of the hole I fell into. Next I get my backbone, my gut. Kidneys and liver find me shortly after and begin filtering all of the urea, all of the fat, all of the excess, all of the poison. I have hands, I grab for my face, I sew the chambers of the heart back together, I get my lungs. I can breathe. 

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373 Reviews

Points: 46106
Reviews: 373

Sat Jun 10, 2017 2:30 am
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PrincessInk wrote a review...

Hello beccalicious. It's time for this essay to get out of the Green Room :)

So I really enjoyed the metaphor used here for some kind of heartbreak. The language here is also lovely and also introspective. This essay talks about breaking apart, and then pulling the person up together, without their former "lover". It's about healing. The last line was really strong in my opinion, as if it's screaming, "I'm free from heartbreak and can be myself again!" The repetition of "When" was executed skillfully and I liked its use.

I also agree with the previous reviewer that some parts of the essay were a bit ambiguous. While a sense of subtlety really makes for a good rereading, too much vagueness throws people off. I really liked the first and last paragraph, but the second was a bit murky. So...this person's organs were displayed on the street after THAT INCIDENT. It feels like they died, and then picked themselves up again with their organs. Anyway. It's just a ramble and it might not be very helpful.

Another critique I have is that how has this experience changed the person? The only thing I can pick up is that they "broke" and then fixed themselves again. I'm sure such an experience would leave some kind of metaphorical scar on them, some painful memories that they want to push behind. I am a firm believer in character arcs--even if it isn't a story. I am a fan of seeing how people change over events, and I find it rather lacking here.

So overall, the language and the metaphor was beautiful--but I wish I could sense more of some change in the person. Not just how they picked up, but how such an experience changed them.

I hope this helped. PM me if you want to discuss.


Thanks! :)

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53 Reviews

Points: 273
Reviews: 53

Tue May 30, 2017 6:58 pm
jamgalloway wrote a review...

Hi there, I thought this was pretty good, albeit a little confusing--at least for me. I'm assuming this is the perspective of someone who's gone through some kind of heartbreak. And if this is the entire thing, I think it's good, but that it should be longer. There are only four paragraphs here to explain the entirety of this man's/woman's grief, plus his or her beginning of healing. So that's my first suggestion, and my second is to go through and edit and reword a few things. There are some grammar mistakes that I'll point out, although it's nothing extreme. And some of these may be more of my opinion on which way they should go, but that's what a review is anyway so it's up to you on what to change and keep the same.

My suggestions(Also, if I put single quotations around something like 'this,' what I mean is to italicize it since that's not an option for me, lol.)

At the end of the first paragraph, this is how I would personally rewrite it--

"I ask myself, 'When did it all go wrong?' I ask myself if it was ever right to begin with. Was I asleep when you put that bomb there? Or, perhaps, was I awake the entire time? Was I there awake with you, without sedation, without intoxication, without anesthesia? Was I the one who handed you the scalpel?"

And this is how I would change the last paragraph as well--

"When I eventually go to collect myself, the first part of my anatomy I reach for is the corneas. My sight. I want to know where I am. I want to see the destruction and the debris. I want to see just how big the hole I fell into is. As for the next, I'll retrieve my backbone and my gut. My kidneys and liver will find me shortly after and will begin filtering through all of the urea: all of the fat, the excess, the poison. I have hands now, the ability to reconstruct what is broken. So I grab for my face--my identity. I sew the chambers of my heart back together to get the blood pumping once again. The last thing I go for is the lungs, because when you haven't done something on your own in a long time, it's a frightening thing to try it alone. But I grab them anyway, so I can breathe again."

Of course, these are my personal changes so you do you, obviously. If you like it the way it is, keep it. If you like my version of it better, change it. I think this little article thing you have here has potential, it just needs a bit more length, and a bit more editing to curve out the edges. I hope this helped some, lol, but if you have any questions about your writing or something I said just ask. And If this didn't help you, well, sorry for being such a crappy reviewer. Good job and good luck!

Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity.
— Charles Mingus