When his mind started planning against him, leaving deep marks all over his arms, terrified, I sat beside his small hospital bed, tried my hardest not to crawl in beside him, pondered the weight of love and healing. My love would never be enough to keep someone feeling happy and whole and alive, but I still tried. I tried to revive him, clutching his hand, weeping next to him. I tried to revive him, staring numbly at his picture at his funeral. I tried to revive him, slightly vibrating, blaming myself. Abuse, shame, screaming, being abusive, hurt, fake, drugs, tears, years of rejection, he carried this all, he had this all pushed down inside him, he hit me and I didn’t say anything, I left him with guilt, how could he want to live? It’s been years and I still write about the grief because it’s what I know best. My friends call it a bad habit, say maybe, I believe that if I write tragic enough the world will try to fix every broken word that falls through my broken, chattering teeth.
Please be okay. Please be happy. Please be free.
When someone lit off fireworks at a fourth of July party and he kept his eyes closed the entire time, I realised. Emerson, I know what you’re looking for, and it’s not in our small town anymore. It’s not in the steps you count or the breaths you hold, and it’s not what’s in between us. It’s in the car while your sister’s driving and you’re screaming the lyrics to your favourite song without caring. It’s in the stars when the whole world is silent. It is the feeling of holding your hand, the feeling when I remember that you will have to leave me someday to find what you are looking for. It’s there when a mother kisses a child goodnight, the first flower of spring, the last snow storm of winter. When the powers shut off and the whole world is lost and quiet and quiet and quiet and quiet.
You’ve been searching in all the wrong places, you haven’t been sleeping, you’ve been hurting yourself to find it.
It was in the fireworks that night.
One late night, you asked me if I was coming with you. When I asked you were we were going you said you were going to find what you were looking for. Thinking you were just overtired, I went to sleep, and the next morning when you were missing out of your home, everything made sense. Emerson, I get it now. My answer is yes.
Deep underneath the ocean, where things disappear and silence shakes the waves, there is a village of horror. Sharp barring teeth bite down and blister, pain erupts. I’m slipping away and I wonder what would have happened if I had just made something little different. Down here, things are dragged around and left for dead. Down here, nothing is put to rest properly. Up here, everything looks much smaller now. People roam the streets unknowingly. They’re all stupid. They could learn if they chose to but no one likes to hear the truth. I step closer to the ledge.
His voice is strong and angry, but underneath I hear land mines being set off as each of his words get more shaky and bloody and vicious. I’m begging him to stop and he acts like I didn’t say anything. The door slams, the house shakes, the puzzle of my composure rattles inside me, something’s still not in place. I close my eyes and when they open I am falling, falling, falling, fa
Sometimes, I miss how things used to be. A part of me wishes that I never left him before he died, even though another part of me knows it was for the best. I miss my favourite person so much. I feel so lonely.
How does someone decide to kill themselves? I told him that I loved him so much and he kept hitting me. I wonder if he saw me screaming his name until my lungs starting shrinking. I wonder if he saw me staring at his frozen body, hunched over, hands over my face trying to claw my eyes out.
I do not allow myself to say that I ever truly loved, or that I ever will love. It’s a harsh truth I stuff underneath the “flirty” persona I play.
I throw myself at guys like I have nothing to lose. I tell myself, and my friends, that I’ve got nothing to lose, that where my heart should be is a field of burnt bridges. I tell people that I don’t believe in love but I can’t forget the way his hand felt on mine.
I loved once. I know I did. It’s something I’ve always been embarassed about. It’s something I don’t talk about until it’s past two in the morning and I am sad.
And I remember everything. I remember how I closed my eyes as he walked away, but I didn’t cry. Where my heart should have been, was an empty space, a riven. He left a riven in my chest and I never gained back enough self love to stitch it back up.