My deceased father walks the halls of my mind from time to time. Not invasively.
He had said in our early teenage years, jarring my only sister as if intentionally, that if any of us three were to make it as artists it would be me. I thought I would be haunted, having mostly failed, but it is a presence most respectful. A translucent figure withholding judgement, hands clasped behind the back, waiting, remaining mute though watchful.
I drink black coffee with him once a day, because that, he said, was his lifeblood.
He only allowed himself one cup.
Two days before his death we had a long conversation. We always had deep talks, but this one had singular momentousness. We sat in army ration surplus wool blankets on the back porch watching the June sunset filtering through the tree line. He said he had understood that it had to be this way. Our time had to end.
Like an incomprehensible love affair.
He said he had to make way so that I could live out the rest of my life, come what may.
It was stabbing to us both--this Truth.
He had always held himself as independent. Never concerning himself with what others thought or the consequences of insisting on his own way. The act of spoiling a trip or a gathering by refusing to attend, left him unfazed, while family near or far huffed and balked with indignation at the audacity and outrage. He would stick to his principles.
Yet he over the years he had wrapped himself, willfully and yet unwittingly, around my presence. We were tied in a knot.
He had tested my integrity, and something had to give. He would not tolerate any other person in my life. Except maybe a child, preferably bastarded.
I never wonder if he would be proud of me now. He would have scoffed at such a notion as cheap, infantile, and unintelligent. He would only want to know whether I kept my head above the pressures of social expectations and kept independence of thought?
In truth it isn't the dead that haunt me. It's the living who have isolated themselves. It is their absence that weighs over my consciousness. My father remains in my eyes an honorable man.
He was my favorite middle school teacher. The best kind of one. Funny, charming, etc. Never raised his voice, never had anyone get into trouble. The day of his death was September 27th, a matter of days after my birthday. His deranged roommate shot him in his own apartment building, but nobody saved him. He was long dead before help arrived.
The school loved him, we missed him. The day before he died, I created a board game with chalk in my driveway. Since then, the sensory walk in my school hallway haunts me. Never once did I purposely try it, in spite of how much his death hurt my heart.
I was young when he died. I’ve grown since then, but I certainly haven’t gotten over him. Tears almost always come to my eyes when I hear sad music, reminding me of him. He will forever be in the hearts of my entire school, all the teachers, all his friends, his family, and me.
It’s pain not to know what you look like
I have never seen myself. Yes, never ever! I can barely think about my shape or size; the only objective facts I can rely on are: my width and height must be a yard or so, I am plain and not very thick; I must be quite heavy though.
But the story is not about me, mainly. It is about people, while I sure cannot be called a human being. It seems sometimes, the visitors of the gallery deserve to be spoken about far more that the exhibits. Here are the reasons why:
- they never become boring, though they may be rude, stupid, badly dressed, etc. etc.
- they tend to talk about us, artworks; that is the only source of information for us on what we are, actually;
- they often use perfumes;
- they have children who giggle and joke, and mess around; we don't.
The workers of the museum are another kind of beings - I would describe them as something in-between the visitors and us. That is because they spend so much time here. However, they can move and look into the mirrors at the ends of the gallery.
Oh, how I wish I could look straight into that image-reflecting glass, too! People can decide for themselves whether they are handsome or ugly, common or weird... And alas, they are the only creatures who can judge us in this manner, for we cannot...
It's pain not to know what you look like.
It is not your fault. It is not your fault. It is not your fault. I repeat those words to myself constantly, yet I can never believe them. I turn over and glance at the clock on my bedside table. The bright red numbers tell me it is 2 a.m. I have been lying in the darkness of my bedroom for over three hours, but somehow I still cannot fall asleep. I mean, I guess I should expect that considering I have not managed to sleep more than four hours a night this past month. I should be used to it by now, but I am not. Tomorrow is my first day of eleventh grade, and I have to start it without her. Without Aria. It also happens to be the one-month anniversary of her death. Tonight I will be lucky if I can sleep at all.
By 5 a.m., I give up on any hope of falling asleep. I climb out of bed and open the blinds, allowing the dim light of the stars to shine into the room. I have always loved the stars. Since I do not have to start getting ready for an hour, I crawl back into bed and open my phone. I open Instagram, and the first thing I see is a post dedicated to Aria. There are a bunch of photos of her smiling. I close the phone immediately and bury my face in my pillow. My hands start shaking, and I want to scream. Everything I wish I could say to her rushes through my mind so quickly that I can hardly breathe. A rush of coldness sweeps through me, and I start feeling numb. The shaking stops, and I lie there staring at the ceiling of my room for what feels like an eternity. I hate when this happens. I hate thinking of her. Most of all, I hate knowing things could have been different. Somehow I manage to pull myself together and reluctantly climb out of bed.
I quickly get ready for school and leave the house twenty minutes earlier than I usually would. I did not want to run into my mom before I left. Last night we argued about my going to school. I begged her to let me stay home; I tried everything to convince her, but she would not relent. She told me I needed to stop moping and get out of the house. "You only knew her for like a year. Were you guys even that close?" That sentence is engraved in my mind. It hurts to think of the fact that my mother barely knows me at all. She has always been busy at work trying to support me and my six-year-old brother, so I guess I cannot blame her, but it still hurts. How could she expect me to be fine after losing someone who meant everything to me? Someone who understood me like no one else. Someone who I never thought I would lose so soon.
The school day is torturous. Since it is the first day, we do not do anything of importance. Teachers introduce themselves and hand out course outlines. None of my friends are in my morning classes, so I do not see any of them until lunch. I sit at our usual table, but today there is one less person there. Kris and Tori are already sitting there discussing their summers. We have all been friends since I moved here at the beginning of grade ten. "Hey, Kiara!" Tori exclaimed enthusiastically.
"Hi, guys," I reply, trying to sound happy to see them.
"Kris and I were just talking about the party last week. I texted you about it. Why did you not go?" she asks.
"Oh, I had a headache," I reply. She and Kris go back to their conversation. I stare at them in disbelief. I do not understand how they have the energy to socialize and go to parties. How do they manage to feel normal after what happened? I guess they are not the ones responsible for her death, but I still expected them to seem a little upset. No one brings Aria up, so I do not either. I zone out of the conversation and focus on the food in front of me. I pick at my salad, but I do not have an appetite. I miss Aria sitting next to me. No matter what, she was always able to make me laugh. When my dad died, she was the first person I told. She was the only person I wanted to talk to. Everything just felt easier with her.
I somehow manage to make it through the day. I start to walk home from school, but I do not feel like going home. I end up wandering around until I somehow arrive at the beach. The beach where she died. The beach where Aria, my best friend in the entire world, killed herself. I find myself sitting on the edge of the same cliff she jumped from. The sun is just beginning to set as I write. Look down at the crystal-blue waves. The wind blows through my hair. I am consumed by feelings of grief, sadness, longing, anger, and, most of all, guilt. I hate myself for what happened that day. She told me she was struggling. She told me she was hurting herself. I saw all the signs, but I did nothing. She was the most amazing person in the entire world. She did not deserve to die like that, feeling alone. I knew she had problems at home, but I never imagined her killing herself. She was always there for me. Why was I not there for her? Why was I, not a good enough reason to stay? Did she even think about me before she jumped? I know the answer to that one. I was the last person she called before she died. Even worse than ignoring all the signs, I ignored her last call. I will never forgive myself for that. I begin to cry loud, ugly tears. My tears turn into screams. I must look crazy, but I cannot deal with it anymore. I do not want to live a life without her. I slowly stand up and walk right up to the edge of the cliff. I could be free of it all. I would never have to feel like this again. I could be at peace. I could be with her. I lift one foot into the air, preparing to launch myself off. I close my eyes. I am tumbling down, falling into the water, and then I am gone. I open my eyes and jump backward, terrified of my thoughts. I cannot do it. I still have my mom, my brother, Kris, and Tori. I do not want anyone else to feel the guilt I feel. No one should have to suffer with the thought that someone they love is gone because of them. At that moment, I realized that maybe
I would not have been able to save her.
That night, as I get ready for bed, I feel different. I lay down, and I start to think of Aria, but this time I do not try to fight the thoughts. I allow myself to remember her and appreciate all the good times we had together. I still have not forgiven myself. I am still not ready to live without her. But I am starting to accept the fact that nothing I do can change the fact that she is gone. For the first time in what feels like forever, I begin to fall asleep without guilt weighing down on me.
i am sad
cw: death, rant, mentions of depression and suicide
i didn't want to shower today
i was too tired and emotionally exhausted and also edging back into depression and my family didn't understand and it was so horrible to just say "i don't want to" and "it's too hard" and "but i didn't do anything i just want to sleep" and they were like "it will take 5 minutes" "it's not like u have to go get your own water you have a shower" and "just do it riley".
i have spent the entire day thinking about how i can't write and i can't learn japanese and am fucking up uni and i was cheated on and i'm so afraid of men and sex now and my family is just falling apart at the seems bc my younger sisters are also on a pipeline for depression and my parents tell me to help them, to talk to them bc "it'll be easier" from me, and it will me, so i have to do it, but then also my mother had an affair and if she didn't she would actually be there for my sisters and me and i wouldn't have to be my own mother and my sister's make-shift mother
and then i shower and i am alone with my thoughts again
and then i come out of the shower and everyone just looks at me like wow wasn't that easy
and no no it was not
i was crying and i wanted to die except it is not easy to die in a bathroom with like nothing in it and that would be horrible for my sister to know and see and even if i said it was an accident (bc i could not kms i would only succeed in sending myself to the hospital) she would find out or at least suspect
and so i just put on my shirt and write here
but i am worried one of them will be like "that wasn't so hard" after they finish showering and i am going to want to leave and go away. but i can't bc we are in the middle of no where and they don't know, they don't understand
no one talks about how lonely depression is
but maybe it's not depression. i can't tell. i feel like since i've been diagnosed i've never been healed, i don't know if i was ever "normal" like ofc you are sad sometimes, but i feel like i want to die so often this likely isn't normal. i don't know.
but i am a happy person, just right now i am sad. so i am writing about being sad so i can be happy later. but right now i am so sad.
I had a plan
It’s 2314, I’m exhausted. My ears filled with NF’s album; the search.
”next time this happens”
I cursed out a friend Sunday, he didn’t deserve it. I get super hostile once a month. He didn’t make a comment that warranted that reaction.
”maybe we got to comfortable”.
I burned a rope on our friendship bridge. I didn’t mean too. I’m going to lose a friendship, I can see it coming. I tried to let him know he didn’t do anything, it was all me. I promised it wouldn’t happen again.
i made a plan though. I sat there trying hard not to cry while my depression kicked into overdrive. I was ready. I could take a knife from my car, my tattoos could cover the marks.
i had a plan. Why? Because I’m not worth it. What if I do it again? I’d lose whatever I had left. Guys, I had a plan! I self destructed a friendship. Why am I so fracked up! I want to scream. I hate myself. AND HE FORGAVE ME! I don’t deserve it!
so I walked away, turned away from the friends. Put on my headphones and walked it out. I wanted to leave, I wanted to go right then, I’m not worth it.
but God said different…..
its 2323 and I’m listening to NF; Hope. After 11 years a woman I haven’t seen called me out on the street. I took care of her daughter during a terrible divorce. I still had a plan until she told me I was the Angel in her life. I showed the kid life can be okay and I gave them laughter. Mom asks how I’m doing, why say the truth, she is going to die from cancer in 8 month. I don’t have the right to say I feel like i am a rabid dog that needs to be put down.
Its 2330, I got to sleep. I have kids depending on me tomorrow. I don’t have a plan, but I feel i Should.