Cell Division

This is one of those ‘how wrong can a person be’ type of scenarios.

We were so wild, and we were the same. One person expressed twice. We skated all summer, and in the winter we let the cold animate us. I guess I just thought that when one of us died it would be like cell division. Nothing would be lost because we were both fully contained in each other. And we both wanted to die, that was no secret. There was a recklessness to us that scared everybody else.

There was always a roof we hadn’t climbed, or a train we hadn’t surfed. And at the end of it there was always the stars in the dark, holding each other and screaming like wolves as the moon reflected off the clear, cold water. Nobody could ever synthesise a psychedelic compound that affected me like you did, and I know I was the same for you.

All my illusions were shattered at once today, when they told me you were never going to wake up. You see, it’s not cell division. It’s a compound fracture. And the weak sunlight filtering into this corridor is laughing at my complete failure to realise before now that, for all the risks, the self-destruction, the daily nearness to death, we loved life because we loved each other.

How is that all supposed to stop now?

We thought death was the adventure, you and I. Nothing to fear. I guess like me you thought we were a cell that lived and died as one. You never imagined what it would be like to be standing outside a hospital room, whole, with me inside so horribly broken, either. To be so suddenly and irreparably awakened to the reality that we were, in fact, two. That there was a way to feel more alone than we ever thought possible.

There’s so much that is going to be lost with you. A library of genetic material that can never be copied or retrieved. You’re dissolving into nothing and I’m being swept far away by the bloodstream.

We didn’t hate life. We loved hating the world together. Now you’re gone, and all the light with you. You were a bioluminescent cell, and it’s all gone dark.

And, you know the craziest thing? In this moment, I don’t want to die. For the first time I can remember, I don’t feel like I could let go in one instant and leave this world behind. Because that was all an illusion too, and all I want to do is grieve for you the way you deserve.

Then I have to find others, others who think they hate life. I have to show them how wrong they can be.

Hold On

It’s raining today, so I’m walking quite fast. It’s coming down in sheets and I imagine I’ve walked behind a waterfall. My face feels twisted and sore from having to spend the whole day hiding my emotions. My cat, Persephone, had died just before I left for school. She was my grandmother’s cat before she was mine, and she’d lived her nine lives to the full. It was the hardest thing, to let her go. Well, it was the hardest thing. That was until the hooded shapes, blurry in the rainfall, began to surround me.

Yes, my body remembers the blows that fell, the blows you took, for me. It’s like the bruises are still there, even now a language in my skin. You have no idea how proud of you I am, for surviving that day. Your heart got cut right open, so that today I can feel. I remember the absence of feeling back then, the reeling, shell-shocked numbness of it all. You were only fifteen. My God, if I could hold you, and tell you all the wonderful things I’ve been able to do because of you. Because you held on.

There is nobody to notice the blood on my face when I stumble through the door. Nor is there anything cooking, as the deep ache grows in my stomach. Dad’s eyes are rolled back; only his body is here. I am alone. All alone. I cook some instant noodles, and channel-surf aimlessly. Tears feel a lot different falling down beaten cheeks. I curl up on my mattress and pray for sleep, or death.

My love, the exclusion, the alienation, the isolation you went through – they are the only reason I know what inclusion means today. I saw someone at work today, someone like you. Do you know that I only had the words to reach her because you gave them to me? And you should see the smile of the guy I served dinner to tonight. You’re the one who made him smile, if only I could tell you. You taught me what great love it is, to prepare a meal for someone.

The grey skies are pale reflections in the puddles on the roadside. I’m walking back to school jittery, shaky, nervous, terrified. I feel like my organs got switched out; my lungs are tighter, and my heart rate scares me. Deep in my body, it feels like everything is about to go into catastrophic failure. The bus I can’t afford throws yesterdays rain all over me again.

My heart is forever broken over this time. You had no idea that this was going to go on for an entire year. Every day a struggle, a flurry of cowardly punches and dagger words. I wish I could tell you what healing feels like. But you will find out for yourself – because you survive to become me. I hope that you, too, would be proud of me. I’m writing the book you started to dream about back then. I smile at people and play peek-a-boo with the kids on the bus, because you told me what life without kindness feels like.

The days blur. There’s a kind of dark frame around even the brightest of days; psychological sunglasses. I’m as tortured trying to work out what makes me different as I am by the physical violence. The darkness seems to hide me from all who would help, but burn as a black beacon flame to anyone and everyone who would desire to hurt me. Sometimes, the blood I shed is not inflicted by another person.

Thank you for being stronger than you ever imagined you would have to be. You gave your strength to me. I wish I could tell you who you become. Who I am. I know how much the hope would have meant to you. And, because I know that, I try to pass on that hope now. A hope of immeasurable value, crystallised out of the awful, shadowy things that you went through.

Hold on, my love. It won’t stay like this.