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Original artwork by Ella Jensen

In Heaven, the Diet Coke Never Goes Flat

Shannon Frost Greenstein

In Heaven, the Diet Coke never goes flat.


Unceasing, endless, a stream of effervescent nectar flowing in a Möbius Strip, Diet Coke as far as the eye can see, and in Heaven I could forget how I drink Diet Coke to fill my stomach, to quiet my ravenous hunger, to fill the hole in my core I am still too broken to fill with food. 


In Heaven, everyone’s neurotransmitters work perfectly.


Neurons fire and molecules bind and amino acids flood the byzantine labyrinth that is the cerebral cortex, my blood brimming with dopamine, my body a slave to my brain, and in Heaven I could stop taking my Abilify because there are no more faulty signals to undermine my joy.


In Heaven, the eighth season of Game of Thrones doesn’t suck.


In Heaven, there is an equal distribution of wealth.


Capitalism was born of the plantation, human lives as currency, credit scores as chains, a machine relentlessly devouring a continuous string of expendable bodies, and in Heaven I would no longer have to sacrifice my flesh at the altar of Profit in order for the machine to churn.


In Heaven, all of the religions end up getting it wrong


Sanctuary, salvation, to love and be loved, to fear, to vanquish, to control that which feels uncontrollable, and in Heaven, I could finally exist without the scarlet letter of “otherhood” because the God in whom I don’t believe loves each and every one of us unconditionally.


In Heaven, I come every time.


In Heaven, no one’s husband has cancer.


Soulmates, lovers, two puzzle pieces perfectly aligned, children and cats and car payments and debt, decades of lived experience as a bonded pair, and in Heaven we would be together forever with all this suffering behind us because there aren’t any oncogenes anymore.


But there’s no such thing as Heaven.


And this Diet Coke is flat.