Fall 1990 • Vol. XII No. 4 Fiction |

Levitating

This past week, the world had acquired an ethereal quality. Faces had become holier, voices gentler. Odors had lost their sharpness. Every morning, in that hazy boundary of dream and reality that marks awakening, Ravi feared he wouldn't survive till nightfall. But minutes after he awoke, his bearings solidified: he knew he would last, get through many more days, possibly sixty or seventy: the body could withstand a good deal, just remember Bobby Sands, who'd gone a hundred days—and then some. Ravi slept a lot, dreamt a lot. He was always conscious of a sweet fruity smell, like that of the alcohol-acetone concoction they used to clean dirty glassware in chemistry lab. Sometimes when he opened his eyes in the morning, he'd see a strange face scrutinizing him. He had gotten used to strange faces: the idle curious, reporters and photographers, even foreigners—he had become a minor tourist attraction. And then, there were the regulars: fellow students telling him how they admired

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