Misfiring Neurons – Ashling Dennehy

I don’t remember falling.

The sudden shift of frosted earth beneath my boots is now entirely lost to me. I wonder if I reached for him, if I fell silent, or if I flailed and grasped for every unearthed root.

The doctors tell me the water was so cold it stopped my breath. That’s why I’m alive. They insist I was unconsciousness for days and show me PET scans to prove it.

But, I remember him.

He was braced against a tree, arm outstretched and rigid, wrenching me out of the icy current. I remember his voice, his breath in my mouth, the touch of his forehead against mine. With the bone-deep ache of surety, I remember his warmth at my back while we waited for someone to find us.

When I tell them this, they scratch a note in my file.

The rushing fizz of pen against paper leads me to an uncomfortable chair where I must speak with a new doctor.

She asks me to call her Gail. I stare at the glass she places in front of me and describe what I remember of those inclement hours to the sound of ice-cubes fracturing.

After our talk, they show me his body. His skin is translucent, frozen. I can’t bring myself to touch him, though my fingers quiver an inch from his unmarked face.

They’d found him downriver, neck and spine broken in the fall. They can prove this, too.

It’s stress, they tell me, my damaged brain misfiring neurons into shattered receptors.

But, I remember him.


Ashling Dennehy is a core member of Wicklow Writers, a group of writers promoting creative writing and poetry in County Wicklow, Ireland. She has been long-listed for the Fish Flash Fiction Award and Highly Commended by Morgen Bailey Flash 100. You can find her on Twitter @ashlingdennehy and at http://www.ashlingdennehy.wordpress.com

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Image: via Pixabay

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