I can barely make out the lines of her face in the darkness. It envelopes us. I can still see the glistening of her eyes. I can always see the glistening of her eyes. She waits patiently and expectantly, not wanting to push my answer from me, allowing me the time I need to form cohesion to the swirling fragments in my head threatening to break even further apart. It starts, as it always seems to with me, as a spark, a little nugget of truth I didn’t even realize was affecting me so deeply, so heavy it could drown me.
I continue sitting upright on my side of the bed, staring into the curtains pulled shut covering the window to the tree line edging the woods not 10 feet away. The bullfrogs are croaking incessantly, the wind pulses the leaves in a scraping rattle. My back is all I will show her, for now at least. That’s when I feel most comfortable, most secure.
So I start, “I don’t know what to say to you. Out on the lake today, I kept swimming out further towards the middle. I kept wondering what it would be like to drown myself. I kept hoping the water would be cold enough so I wouldn’t even feel it. And swimming back, I kept hoping all the cold spots I was going over was a spirit coming to grab me by my ankles and drag me under. I kept hoping all the weeds would wrap around me and not let me go.
And every day is like that. Every day I feel like I want to die. Every day I struggle with it. I keep seeing in my head visions of me stabbing myself over and over in the neck, in the face. I wonder how many times it will take before I can’t anymore. I wonder if I could still hold the knife if it’s slick with blood. I keep seeing a gun in my mouth as I pull the trigger, or jump off a bridge, or drive into a tree, or strangle myself. And it’s like that every single day.
I’m happy with things at first until I’m not. It never lasts. Not for long, at least. I keep thinking it’s going to be like it was when I was a kid. I learned then that everything is shit, that everyone is shit. And I hate everyone, I swear to fucking God I do, Meryl. I mean, you’re cool and I love you and like you but I hate everyone because everything is shit. I keep expecting the sky to disappear and everyone to fall up and into the void out there and I would be okay with that.
And I hate all these selfish people with their selfish cares. And most of all I hate myself. You have no idea how much I hate myself. I’m so disgusting and rotten it makes me want to throw up. I feel like maggots feasting upon dead maggots and caked vomit and I’m rolling around in it. I hate myself for being so selfish I brought a child into this disgusting shit of a world because I wanted one so badly even though I knew how shit it is! And you have absolutely no idea how much I hate myself for that.
I keep hoping, I keep praying to whatever is listening to take it all away. Sometimes I beg, even. Nothing ever listens. Maybe this is the answer. Maybe this is my hell. Maybe I did actually die two years ago and this is my punishment. This is what I get for passing my sadness and pain onto those who cared enough about me when I was alive.
I just don’t know anymore. I don’t know how long I can keep this up, keep fighting against the inevitable. I don’t know how much fight is left in me. I keep wondering when these urges will finally win and I’ll know then what it feels like for a knife to slide into my body, or for my lungs to be filled with water, or how fast I’ll drop from a bridge. I keep wondering if I’ll even regret it, or will be vindicated.
I just don’t know.”
A silence ensues. It swallows everything, encompassing the 2 foot rift threatening to tear our little world apart. It’s deafening, drowning out the sporadic rustling leaves and the constant croaks of the bullfrogs. The temporary reality of silence shrouds my senses and I can’t remember if she responded. I can’t even remember what I said. I can’t tell if it’s night or if this is a dream or if I’ve just closed my eyes for a few seconds while I rubbed my fingers over the tired lids of too many sleepless nights.
“Umm, so no, you’re not thirsty?” She asks to my back.
I put my left knee up on the bed as I turn at the waist to stare at the outline of her in the darkness, holding up the blanket modestly over her breasts. The expectant look of her face is full of fright and dread. She looks as if she’s been sucker punched in the solar plexus, robbing her of the full use of her lungs.
One side of my smile lifts up into a smirk, showing the sharp teeth jutting out of my mouth as they glisten in the moonlight cast through the sliver of curtain. Suddenly, I feel hungry.