Life Takes Place Like This

By Miranda R. Carter

September 6, 2021

Life Takes Place Like This

**Content Warning** This essay discusses suicide.  

My student tells me she is going home and then is found hanging by a shower rod on Tuesday afternoon. We do not sleep. All that was hers is now ours to sort through. We speak about her now in past tense.

Her basketball portrait is propped beneath one of the large chapel windows. All who are leftover are cleaning out the ribcage of the chapel, tossing crumpled napkins, folding chairs, and rolling tables.

Hours ago, I found two students in the foyer bent in grief, thumbing away tears. Now dry-eyed, they assist in the cleanup until they realize the microphone on the stage is still active, the stage lights as heavy as the weight of waking these days.

Softly, one taps the rough cheek of a drum. With the encouragement of amused eye-rolls and slight smiles, they lay a beat. Their stiffness gives way, if just for now. Their gold chains swing. They attempt crisp Michael Jackson spins, tangling themselves in the microphone cord. They croon old R&B. They are still wearing their black memorial clothes.

The spring day dies but the chapel lights burn on. Sprigs of soft laughter and melody bubble with unexpected naturality amidst the work and the sadness that reminds us of the ongoingness of things, the way time seems seamless until we encounter the sharp edges of it, the ways in which we are still here. And it is an inhale. A match struck in the dark.


Miranda R. Carter is a writer, professor, and spur-of-the-moment roadtripper currently residing in Sacramento, California. Her creative work can be found in Idaho Magazine, Pile Press, and more.


Picture by Mehul Dave courtesy of Unsplash

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