Beds are a strange concept to me. We have a special time every day where we put on a designated uniform and unconsciously lie on a mattress for several hours, completely unaware of our surroundings, besides our body cushioned into the bed beneath. They are a place of safety, a sanctum one can turn to in times of both despair and defeat.
I have many restless nights. My legs lie twisted in a sea of sheets that brush against every hair on my body uncomfortably. I open and close my fists as pools of sweat form in the centre of my palms. I am completely spent of energy, as if it has all been consumed in the effort it takes to push me into slumber. The simple act of shutting my eyes is far more difficult than it should be, and my lids grow heavy and sore because of it.
A numbing sensation comes over my mind, as if two hands are pressing against either side of my brain. The nauseating and all-too familiar taste of chemicals and metal slowly creeps its way up my throat, as if I swallowed the change out of someone’s back pocket. The room begins is spinning around me and I try to release myself to the luring induction of sleep. I feel myself fighting; an inner battle of anxieties versus force ensues inside my head as the hands push closer together. The walls blurring together, I push myself deeper into my mattress, hoping it will swallow me whole.
Too exhausted to fight yet too anxious to give in, I wait until I fall into a state of nothingness. Sleep and awake blend into one, and I find myself resting and motionless. My conscious runs circles around me as she points and laughs at my inability to fulfill normal, human functions. I pull my covers up around my body. Sleep will come in its own time, but for now I try to stop the ongoing list of anxieties and become devoured by the nighttime’s quiet. I find peace.
The breath of the night is youthful and cool as it passes against my chapped lips. Wind stirs the scarf wrapped around me, and I watch as it lightly dance against my chest. I nestle my neck further into the warm fabric; the nape of it hinting at the bitter odor of sweat and rain in my hair. I can feel the strands twisting and notting themselves as they’re swallowed by the hood of my yellow rain jacket. On evenings such as this I find myself bare and innocent, filled with the memories of curiosity before I knew what exactly there was to wonder about in the first place, I watch as bright shadows of vehicles illuminate the road beside me. The rain is talking to the damp ground and the shuffle of my boots join in. I can hear the continuous rolling of car tires approaching as sleepy-eyed drivers pass alongside me only to disappear again in seconds.
I look around at the apartments lining both sides of the street. Gazing up into their windows, I think about all the people inside. I search for movement within the grid of windows but only one suggests a sign of light trying to break through a blind in the structure’s top right corner. As I walk by, I peer into the damp alleyways and the ornate playgrounds the fire escapes make as the dance around one another.
Faintly ahead, the sharp echo of laughter splits through the rainy silence. Raising my gaze, I watch as elongated shadows of stumbling bodies are illuminated across the pavement in front of me. The warm glow of the street lights aren’t bright enough for me to make out any details, but as I get closer and the voices become clearer I begin to see the outline of three figures. Their long hair sticks to the sides of their faces from the now wet sky as their dizzy eyes flutter over our surroundings. I recognize two of them; one who I’d been briefly introduced to at a concert a couple weeks back, and the other from multiple exchanges and conversations here and there. I know the name of the third, but can’t recall if we’ve ever actually met or if it is only pieces of gossip I’ve heard and photos I’ve seen that helped me piece together her identity to her face.
I know what this is: this breathlessness, a screaming choking lack of reason, the realization that I am always alone – always desperately, terrifyingly alone. I can distract myself – I do. But when everything is over, when all of that is done, he’s all I have.
And when she pries him from me, punishes me, and takes him from me, she opens the floodgates. She collapses my walls, and they come crashing down at my feet as my lifelong desolation hits me. Pounding, screaming. I can’t live like this. I cannot bear knowing that I am untouchable, unreachable. When I am taken away from distractions, stripped to the core, I have always been alone. Like freezing ice in a container too small, chilling, tightening, bursting, splitting, and I can’t hold – No longer can I contain this expanding, growing thing that pushes my mind as if to shatter. This thing inside me that I call mine.
I am helpless in the face of authority. Sometimes I am overcome with this sweeping panic. I don’t know if I’m better off knowing what it is, or if I should just learn to live through this suffering.
This is why I need my hand in his, to have a physical absolute to save me from myself. I do not control what lies in my chest. I want to keep him on the line until I know that I can be saved; that I am recoverable.
Four white walls and an angular ceiling with edges flowing in every which direction. If you look up and follow them with your eyes, you’ll find yourself taken on a mapped route that always points to the broad window of light in the far right corner; this is my bedroom. Articles of clothing scatter the floor, various books and trinkets cover the shelves, and on the large white desk a messy sea of towering papers continues to accumulate.
With only one air vent, it is very rare that the temperature of my room is that of my desire. Despite having all the windows open, the only for it to properly breathe is to prop open the two large connecting doors that link my place on the third floor to the rest of my house. Unfortunately for me, this is far from ideal. I am only absolutely comfortable with both doors closed shut. I somehow feel as if the contents of my room will spill out when presented with the opportunity, allowing my constant soft hum of music and floating thoughts to escape the space I’ve trapped them in.
Behind my bed, a continuous bookshelf with a thick surface hugs the outskirts of the room and my headboard. Half empty water glasses and jewelry cover its area. Directly behind where I lay my head, half open bottles of Nytol and Gravol lie on their sides. Contents of bright tiny pink and chalky, circular blue pills spill from their home. I try to remember evenings from long ago in which the simple action of laying my head on my pillow would stop the constant flow of never-ending thoughts and quickly lull me into an unconscious state, but after two years of dependency on sleep aids, those memories seem more like a dream than an attainable state.
You have always been so familiar, like a hand came and placed you down on earth around some corner, as if to orchestrate me meeting you. As if to say “remember this?”
When I met you, it was as if all of my previous life had been spent underwater, in a cloudy haze with a lack of real, sober clarity.
You’ll save me one day. You’ll save my life, just as I’ve already saved yours.
You, embodiment of wisdom, and all else that makes my heart beat with a sense of self worth. I need you. There is such a greatness you possess I never knew could truly exist.
But your faults – your terrible, self-doubting faults. I’m sorry for getting so upset over them, but I would never want anyone to talk the way you do about yourself, even if it’s you.
I’m scared every day, because it’s all on me for now. It isn’t impossible, but I’ve got to take care of you. I’ve got to love you. The right and real way – that’s when I know it will be okay.
You talk about how horrible you are. I know you’ve done bad things; I know. But isn’t it enough that I feel that you were made for me? That we were made for each other?
Please: let me love you, and care for you while this passes.
Help me. I feel so small, and you’re so big.
You’re a tree that everyone wants to cut down.
It’s all so ugly and horrible sometimes.
You are my only comfort and my safety.
Please: never go.
I was important to someone, once. I was the warmth of sun rays against your back, heating your shoulders and pressing them until they turned red from the touch of my palms. I was the way your dark eyes exploded with light, like the city skies blanketed by night that we said we’d always visit.
I was important to someone, once. I was the comforting song that the creaking staircase made under your quiet and patient steps. I could reach up and pluck stars from the sky with my fingertips for you. I would bring them down and tell you to admire them but I knew.
I knew I shone brighter to you. I was the ocean. A large body of water that at first appears inviting and refreshing from what you were accustomed to. You had to dip your feet at first, but you soon realized that I was too big to swim, and your limbs grew tired as you attempted to quickly keep up with the waves. I am still unsure as to what happened. Maybe you left me and my salted lips to dry into the sandy floor. but I still wait.
I was important to someone, once. Do you remember? I want to wake myself from the never ending cold, and write things to you. I want to tell you everything I feel, and point out all the things you fail to notice. I want to tell you that I never needed you to keep the boats afloat, and that things will continue on as they should. I want to tell you that I am important now, here, even without you.
I met him in April. It was cold. He was a friend of a friend; I’d never lain eyes on something so beautiful. The boys decided they’d go swimming. They were either unaware or unafraid of the dirt and grime in the water, and the pain of the cold wind that they would face afterwards. He stood there shaking in his boxers. I hugged him and rubbed my hands up and down his arms to keep him warm – all he did was smile.
To this day, that smile has not left my mind. A couple of weeks later, we spent an entire day together in his car. It was the first time we’d ever been alone. We talked, and we drove, and we talked. About life, about death, about my fear of rooms with no doors, infinity and beets, and about his fear of nothing. He told me not to be afraid of infinity. He said that life is about infinite chances, and every everything is one in infinity. I haven’t been afraid since. As I thought to myself that I’d never met someone quite like him, he said to me: “you’ll never meet anyone like me.” He wasn’t lying.
We spent nights on my roof, watching stars struggle to break through the light pollution from the skyscrapers. e told me about his old best friend. He told me how he loved her. I kept my mouth shut, I couldn’t tell Him a thing. But I didn’t mind. I knew he was hurting. It would be unfair for me to find jealousy in that.
I spent that summer with my best friend. I kept a journal of the beautiful things he said to me, and my hopes high that one day, he would look at me as I looked at him. The thing is, I didn’t care about kissing him, or calling him my boyfriend. I just wanted to become a part of each other’s futures.
In September his heart went cold. I swear, it froze over. Unable to find the root of the problem, and unable to fix him, I started to crumble. He fought, he screamed, and he argued. He pushed me away as I clung on with everything I had. He was the only thing I was ever sure of and the thought of him leaving my life left me with trembles and shakes of emotions I was not capable of experiencing.
As the months went by, he continued to grow colder. He got a girlfriend, and it set me off. One day, I told him that I loved him, that I knew he’d never love me, and that it hurt – that he was hurting me, and that how I felt wouldn’t change no matter how hard I tried.
I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t form sentences. Unable to muster the words I wanted to say, I watched my hear spill out into a messy puddle, and he nodded. He nodded and said that I shouldn’t love him.
The next day he was cold again. He’s not the boy I fell in love with anymore, but I’m sitting here, giving him everything: thousands of chances, as I hopefully wait for my best friend to come back to me. Deep inside me, something knows that he’s gone. But I feel that if I don’t wait, I haven’t tried hard enough. He’s crippled me of my ability to love anyone else. He’s made me distant, he’s made me pathetic, but I swear, he makes the stars shine.