BTS Book Reviews Issue 18 - Page 108

| Woven by Kellyann Zuzulo | true then. The cancer had taken me. So soon. I thought I had time. I felt alive. I turned my face to Kevin. He was so close that my vision filled with the blue of his eyes. I shifted my gaze back to Kevin. “But-but . . . Why am I here?” “You are alive.” As though to prove it, he tilted his head and kissed me. He cocked his head. “I think you know that, too.” A thrill shot through me. His lips were firm and pliant, soft and moist. My heartbeat pounded straight down to a warm spot deep in my belly. I wound my arm around his back and up to his neck. My fingers played with the silky c urls on his collar. I certainly felt alive . . . and about to explode with a new excitement that I’d never felt before. I felt giddy and odd and confused. But I wasn’t afraid. I wanted to laugh. “Are you haunting me?” A strange sense of resignation, like exhaustion after a hard workout, settled over me. “Not haunting, Maggie. I came to meet you.” I swept my hand across my brow. It was cool. Surprisingly, I didn’t feel nauseated or sweaty, only bewildered. The pain in my back was most definitely gone. I looked down where our thighs touched. At some point, my hand had found his. Our fingers were entwined. I looked up to find Kevin’s gaze. “What about the white light? The tunnel?” I’d been so enchanted by his eyes that I hadn’t noticed before how smooth his skin was, alabaster in texture, without the blemish of a pore or the shading of a beard. He appeared as flawless as a marble bust of himself, yet alive. I exhaled, wondering at the robust sound of my heavy sigh. “Why am I still breathing?” Kevin’s hand that had been on my shoulder moved to rub my back. I leaned into him. “It’s like muscle memory. You’re not actually breathing. Your mind is restructuring an imitation of what it is to breathe, to give you time to catch up to what’s actually happened. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to get you inside quickly. Your breath was no longer clouding in the air. You might have noticed.” I puckered my lips and blew out, pushing and then pulling air from my lungs. My chest rose and fell. 108 | He pulled back from me, smiling. “It’s just a different type of living. You’ve moved on to the next level of your existence.” I played with the soft nest of wool in my lap. “And the blanket. How—” “It represents the life you wove for yourself, but it holds a promise, too. That what you find here will be bigger and better. That you will find peace.” I peered up at him through the shadow of his lashes. “And you? You’re—” “With you.” He bent his neck so that his lips were by my ear. “I’ve thought about you often in the time that I’ve been here.” I eased back to stare at him. He smiled again. “A car accident, two years ago. It was instant. Like you, I didn’t know anyone who had died, so there was nobody who I knew to meet me. But there were others. And they made me feel welcome. But when I realized what was happening to you, I asked to be the one.” “To meet me?” “Yes. And to stay with you. For a while . . . if you want.”