We almost died last week, and it wasn't like how you imagined it. There weren't flowers or tumors or hospital beds. It was just us two, gazing into the mirror, peering under our frayed edges, staring through the light to the place beyond, wondering what made perfection so unobtainable. Wondering how death could manage to be so much easier than life [floating on your back, no need for oars.]
You may think I am a coward, but, darling, we are so strong, and it is all thanks to you.
You soak up love. You breathe in life and let it travel through your bloodstream. Life is like a virus injected intravenously, fighting red blood cells and capillaries for dominance over this short-circuiting system; burning away pathogens, patching stripped wires, and replacing gears that have ground to a halt. We are a machine [clunking, sputtering, grinding] but life is our grease, and we will continue on.
You absorb happiness like chloroplasts gather sunbeams, reaching up your viney arms, unfurling those crumpled leaves, and raising your smiling face to the welcoming warmth of dawn. You tuck light inside yourself like a chipmunk squirrels away nuts for winter; warmth seeps into the cracks in your bones, heat radiates from your palms, and your smiles blossom like flowers, all the oxygen and hope and energy blooming from those chapped lips, wrapped in beautiful packages sent to Newtons and Youngs and Coriolises.
You are a phantasmagorical aurora borealis, a beautiful ionization of solar winds [whipping your hair about your face] and magnetosphere particles [emitting oxygen and nitrogen, transforming your surroundings into seascapes of blue and green and red.] Darling, you are beautiful like a ghostly nebula floating in space, collapsing under the pressure of gravity, drawing stars to your wavelengths, and turning ultraviolet in the haze. You are surreal and spectacular, but, darling, there is a fault in our stars: we soak up love, we breathe in life, and we absorb happiness, but we keep none for ourselves.
That is why we hurt ourselves: in order to see the stars, to feel the sun on our skin, to feel the blood speeding through our veins [and out.] I know it's hard to comprehend, but, at some point between you and me, we broke, and the pieces remaining no longer fit together [no matter how much they want to.] We are a book shredded and cast aside; pages fluttering, cascading and climbing across plains and battlefields and deserts, separated from the garnished cover that used to encompass all that we are and all that we were and all that we could be. Someone put us back together, darling; they bound the chapters with masking tape and stapled our spine together, but some pages are missing, and a book incomplete is merely graphite and ink and dead trees. We are a girl deconstructed; 17 years' worth of insecurities overcome and loves lost and words written, but somewhere along the way we lost our innocence and our understanding and our common sense. And that can never be replaced.
Darling, I wish there was some way you could grow up not to be me. I wish I could heal you before you had a chance to break, so band-aids and stitches and kisses wouldn't be necessary. So you wouldn't have to cry and bleed and hurt -- oh god, how I wish you wouldn't hurt.
I wish I could lie, and tell you that the friends you make won't leave you behind to pick up the pieces; that you won't have to contemplate the unthinkable because you feel so incompetent at everything and no one speaks up in your favor. Most of all, I wish you wouldn't have to wear the scars from my mistakes and my bad choices.
But I can't
--I can't steal your life when you are so young, so naive, and so happy
--I can't change your path halfway through, erasing those dancing footprints
--I can't take away your blunders and experiences and nightmares, because then you wouldn't be you, and I wouldn't be me, and we would never learn
--I can't tell you what will happen or how things will work out, because that is all part of growing up: falling, stumbling, and growing stronger. If I coddle you with truths and instructions, then you will weaken like bones drained of calcium, and when you get here, you will shatter.
I can only tell you this:
--Learn to dance with the world watching
--Write; write as much as you can and never stop, because you will eventually improve, and it will save you
--There will come a time when Dad falls into a depression; he will cast aside his piano and toss away his songs, and you must remind him what music means. The moment will come, and you will know what to say. You will save him.
--Never give up, because
Darling, you are a butterfly fresh from the cocoon, and I will teach you how to fly. Let me take you, wet and furled in my hand, and carry you to the place where the wind will catch your wings and lift you higher than you ever dreamed. Let me teach you to drink nectars sweet as sunshine, and flutter amongst the lilies in bloom. Let me teach you how to live.
Darling, I am an unwinding cable car; my skin is falling away in a flurry of dust and ashes, and my mind is unraveling to no end. My gears are grinding, my system is failing, but I will keep fighting. I will grip my collarbones, close my eyes, and let the tracks carry me where they may, and I promise not to jump -- I promise not to contemplate the unthinkable [never again.]
Darling, we are full to the brim. We are a whisper on the phone and a clamor echoing within our skulls. We are a nepenthe taken like a shot of vodka, reliant on knife-point endorphins and the buzz and high of notenougneverenough nourishment. We give blood just to feel the rush of standing too fast, just to feel useful in a world that's bleeding to death, just to sleep well at night, aided by the thick scent of chloroform and the daze of anemia.
We are a centrifuge; spinning, rotating, pumping so fast that our minds whirl and we crumple in a corner, watching as the rest of us separates: the good sinking to the bottom like a heavy sediment, lost forever in those murky depths; the bad floating like a glossy, rainbow oil-spill, sweet on your tongue, and turning acrid as it tangles with your blood. We are a centrifuge, darling, displacing ourselves into two halves, skimming off what is no longer necessary and starting a-new. Together, we will separate, restart, and maybe, finally, find a way to be whole again. Together, we will find a way to heal the lesions on our skin, to fix the fractured synapses in our temporal lobe, and to bury those bones deep beneath lovely, warm flesh. We may fall along the way; trip, and slip deeper into that hole, but together we will start the climb up.
We are broken, but, darling, don't be scared. I am full to the brim with you, and your love and happiness and life heal me from the inside, like platelets.
Darling, we don't have to be afraid anymore, because
I love you.