Before I get into the writing, I just want to start by thanking Sara for coming in and doing a Writer’s Seminar on herself in the Creative Writing class this semester. I would say that seeing another writer find their own success fuels my own pursuit, and thus I write this piece. You can find the original work by Sara here.
It’s been quite a few years now, and in that time I couldn’t help but find myself jumping at shadows, thinking that somewhere in the dark it was you creeping about. You can’t blame me for such faults; after all, it was you who instilled them in me, remember? I find it funny how the most prevalent memories I have were the ones where you were by my side. You always did rear you head at the most inconvenient of times, like in most of my photographs, glaring right at the camera, doing your best impression of what I looked like. Looking back, you couldn’t even tell us apart. God, those seem like yesterday!
Remember when we were just kids, and you hid under the covers with me while the world felt like it was screaming? You nurtured me, cultivated me, and lead me through to the other side. The side where you plugged my ears and kissed my boo-boos when it seemed like the roof would collapse. The side where you left me to sleep and heal under those covers, while you would go to school for me. I loved you so much for helping me, even if I had to pay you. That’s the way the world worked, wasn’t it: we all have to bleed a little to live a little. Everyone has an occupation, and yours was to run a Blood Bank. You taught me that, and many other things, like how if I can’t do something on the first try, I may as well give up. Or if I mess up, nobody would want to be around me. Or if I couldn’t be fit like all of the other boys, I may as well exercise until I almost pass out.
And so I did.
I would struggle with learning,
and I’d give up on myself.
Just like you told me.
I would make the smallest of mistakes,
and I’d punish myself.
Just like we told ourselves.
I would gain a couple pounds,
and I’d hurt myself.
Just like I told myself.
Definitely, in those later middle school years, we bonded. When everyone grew distant, your arms embraced me as you plucked me away from them all, like a leave from an oak. We’d go home and lay under the covers as the roof was finally gone, and little snowflakes fell onto our tongues. Have you ever just sat while it snows and felt the flakes hug you, and melt onto your face. I doubt you did, as you were less interested in gazing up at what was above, and more interested in dragging my arm down to your “business.” Even when you twisted me and forced me to pay up as I entered high school, I couldn’t help but look up. My fascination was now centered around what was beyond the snow, and if I could reach that.
I”ll be honest with you, my friend, I was in debt, and the more I bled for rent, the more I began to resent you. My funds were finite, and I needed a way out. So as I gazed up, I exposed my neck for you. I expected the dark passenger that had enveloped me would reach for my gullet and strangle me. Or maybe strangle me harder, because the lack of oxygen I got around you had obviously been stopping my mind from thinking clearly, so maybe you were strangling me this entire time, and maybe I was finally sick of paying for a life I should have been entitled to, and maybe if you’d hurry up I would… But it never came.
You vanished. And I could breathe again.
The years went by, and the roof slowly was patched. Some nights I thought I could hear you stirring under the bed, restlessly. But you didn’t come back, and I never looked for you. I became wealthy in what you drained me of, and I learned a great deal from the many people I’ve come to love in your place.
I still struggle with learning,
but I try again.
Just like they tell me to.
I still make mistakes, some large ones at that,
but I learn from them.
Just like we all tell ourselves.
I will gain weight,
but I will still love myself.
Just like I will always tell myself from now on.
Listen Depression. Recently, you came back for a visit, and it was nice to see you again, it really was. It’s been a while since we’ve been under a stable roof. Nostalgic is what I would call it. We’re older, and much more blunt with each other. But the thing is, you never changed, even when you wanted some spare change because your business wasn’t doing too well. I paid you a little, but I won’t do it again. People call me empathetic, perhaps too empathetic for my own good, and I see that now when I talk with you. I want to thank you for teaching me everything you did, because I wouldn’t be the man I am today without you. I’m sorry, but we’re done. Don’t misunderstand, I’m going to see you again, but things won’t be like they were.
I will never submit to you.
I will never allow you to hurt me again.
I will never give you the opportunity to control me.
It’s on the verge of winter now, and I’m waiting for the snowflakes to fall.