Trying to drown every noise. Trying to cage myself in. Trying to disappear on the spot. Trying to dry my own tears.
Can’t you see?
I’m trying to stop.
Stop listening. Stop seeing. Stop feeling. Stop breathing.
But I can’t. I’m here. I’m alive. Where the air is poison and I can’t take a breath without starting to choke. People ask if I’m alright but how the hell could I be? How could I be alright when I’m alive and you’re not?
No one pulled me aside. No one called, no one texted. All I needed was one message. A singular word from someone who knew and instead I had the pleasure of finding out at school. With a class full of people, whose world’s didn’t stop. Did I really mean so little to you?
My veins practically froze, when he pulled out the paper. We’d been through this before on two separate occasions. I didn’t have time to pull out my phone. Not when my fingers had frozen in panic. Because he read out your name layed smack in the middle of a copy-and-paste sentence.
I lost control of my body in the seconds that followed. He’d yelled my name worried, but I was too far down the hallway. Before I knew what had happened, I’d disappeared out the doors. School vanished behind me as I tore down the streets. Our memories flooded my mind. Tears streamed down my face. My surroundings blurred madly; soon I collapsed to the ground. And that’s where they’d found me. A sobbing wreck in a ball, crumpled and curled on the edge of someone’s lawn.
I’d screamed in denial when they tried to bring me back. No counselor, no teacher could convince me you were dead.
That was short lived denial. I can’t refuse my own eyes, even if my vision is bleary from this place where I stand. Days have passed, yet I haven’t stopped crying. At least, these are quiet. The day they announced your funeral was the day I fell silent. Too long, I’ve been alone with my thoughts but I still can’t believe that this is our end, that everything we built has shriveled and fallen.
I failed you, promised you wouldn’t be alone. I said I’d be there in the moment you needed me most.
You always hated promises. Said no one can promise the future. Did you know I would fail you? Or were you counting on me? Did you wait for a text that would never come?
I feel my heart quivering. I think it might shatter.
Can you see the damage that you’ve left behind or is death oblivious to its aftermath?
I want to scream at you and sob, to tell you that I’m pissed.
I doubt you’ll hear me. I mean, you finally escaped. You found your way out so why would you ever return?
We had so much to do, entire futures ahead. High school was just a chapter in two books being written. Now one is unfinished and a chunk of the other is missing. I wanted you with me. I wanted to be by your side. I wanted to explore what we could be. Together. To carry each other through all the lows and the highs.
I’m not ready.
I can’t do it.
They want to shoo me along.
But I can’t find the strength to move. If I could, I might run. I can’t tear myself away from the sight of your body. Horrifically pale and coated in makeup. My eyes soak in the nausea as it gaily twists in my stomach.
Just do me a favor? Please don’t be dead. Come back in a year, maybe six, even ten? Don’t be gone when our story’s not done. There’s too much to say and I already ran out of time. Don’t make me end it. You never liked the rules, so throw them out the window, why should the law of death be final?
I’m begging you. I’m choking on bile. Don’t make me say it. We swore we never would.
We’d say “see ya” and “good night,” “later” and “so long.” But we’d promised to never say it or did you doubt that all along?
It’s too final. Too official. Too assuring of the end. The word’s buried in my throat, jagged and vile.
I told you, I can’t. Not when I can’t even smile.
This can’t be the end.
I can’t say goodbye.