The Cedarville Review 2024

THE CEDARVILLE REVIEW 29 Does she fear death? Does she feel it closing in, sucking this recycled air right out of the premises? Does she ever wonder if one morning, the sleeping mall won’t wake up? Perhaps bankruptcy, like a thief in the night, will wrap these walls in eternal shade. The whole place will become like one massive Sears—a mere skeleton of what once was, an empty rib cage where dry-wall crumbles from the ceiling like fragments of bone—a refuge for rats, troubled teens, homeless addicts, and ghosts. You don’t want to admit it, but the concept of dying scares you. Of course you believe in the beyond. You’re not supposed to be alarmed by your own heart stuttering out, or the darkening of the American Economy, or the liminal highway between this world and the next. Nevertheless, you can’t help it. The scent of death swells in your lungs with every breath: thrownout leftovers from the food court, mothballs hiding in old clothes, a hint of cigarette smoke. Perhaps death doesn’t always mean the extinction of a life. What about the end of an era? Fleeting summer days fading into Autumn. September. The passing of one day into the next. The last goodbye you say before leaving an old friend. Will you ever see them again? Will you ever get this moment back? What about the girl down the street with whom you used to go sledding? You used to be good friends—best friends. But then, time and change dissolved the former bond. One day, you were just neighbors, waving to each other occasionally when you’d pass on the road, driving in opposite directions. Back in St. Louis, the air reeked of mortality. Unlike in the mall,