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How to Disappear Completely by Jowell Tan

First: the skin. Epidermis. Hypodermis. I remove it gently to preserve it in one piece, whereupon I fold it neatly like I would a jacket into a perfect square. It goes into the top drawer of my dresser. Second: the muscles. Masticatorii. Triceps Brachii. Gastrocnemius. red-lined pieces of softness, varying in shape and size, tensing as I grip them. Into the second drawer they go, into their differently-sized, individually-labelled containers and closed with airtight seals. Third: the organs. Lungs. Large Intestine. Brain. Heart. These pieces go into the drawer second from the bottom, its perimeter lined with bubble wrap, once, twice, three times around, and the floor padded with miniature pillows for each item to rest on. This drawer I close gently, gingerly, to avoid shaking them as I push them out of sight. Lastly: the bones. Mandible. Clavicle. Sternum. Scapula. Humerus. Radius. Pubis. Sacrum. Femur. Tibia. Fibula. Phalanges. These go down to the bottommost drawer, tossed haphazardly and piling up in an uncategorised heap, only minimally arranged to keep them horizontal and flat down in order for the drawer to close. Now, finally, with every physical part of me kept away, I have disappeared completely. I am smaller than the smallest atom. I am untraceable by any eye, nor even any microscope known to man. Like a gas that has dissipated into nothingness, I henceforth no longer exist. When the future arrives and finds my parts hidden in drawers and sealed in airtight glass containers, they will attempt to piece me back together to call me back. But they will be unsuccessful. Yes, they will have a complete assembly of the me I was before. But they will only have the shell. The superficial version of me. Useless without my spirit. By then I will have floated into the cosmos, gazed upon the boundary, swam beyond the horizon. I will have scattered myself in every direction. I will be Nowhere, Everywhere, All at once.



When not surviving Real Life, Jowell Tan writes about fictional lives. Never without a new story idea, he spends his nights typing and his days reading, juggling his many roles as a rat racer, a father, and a writer. He somehow stays afloat. He sometimes gets published by journals. He always tries his best. Say hi to him on twitter (@jwlltn) — he promises not to bite.

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