An Old Story

I am telling myself a story about the past. The story is true. The story is not true.

Daggers raked across my chest and my breathing stopped. It started again and my heart beat uncontrollably fast. I was dizzy. I was feeling so faint and light that I thought I would float away. My vision blurred and returned to normal. As I lost almost complete control of my physical body, my mind was consumed in my thoughts. I was in control of my mouth. I tightened it into a smile and spoke encouraging words. I don’t know what they were, but the smile didn’t reach my eyes. My hands were sweating. I spoke a lie. I was going to check something. I couldn’t think of a better lie.

I looked on the ground and found pieces of myself were scattered about the floor. Something was drip dropping from chest. Pieces of my heart? Or were they coming up through my throat. I had to get out. I had to get out. I am going to check something. I will be back. The latter was true. I didn’t want to come back, but I had to come back. I didn’t want to face this choking fear, but I had to come back. Before I came back, I had to leave. Anywhere but here. Anywhere but here.

The dizziness was consuming. The stairs or the elevator? I couldn’t trust my legs. I could barely stand. The shaking seemed uncontrollable, but it may have been only in my mind. I thought my heart was going to explode, but it may have been only in my mind. I leaned against the elevator walls. Basement. I will go to the basement. I will sit with the ghosts who haunt the morgue that was no longer a morgue. I felt like a ghost. I was a ghost of myself, and I carried so many ghosts with me. I was reliving my university years. I relived multiple confrontations with multiple people. It seemed all of them were screaming the same thing:

Not good enough! Not good enough! Change your expectations! Change your behaviour! Look at yourself in the mirror! You’re not enough! You’ll never get this right! Everyone is talking about how you’ll never get this right! Nobody wants to talk with you! You don’t listen! You don’t understand!

I replied:

Shut up! Shut up! I don’t want to carry you around. I thought I was rid of you.

My hands were shaking. I had to have help. I knew that much. But who could I ask? I just needed to tell someone. I typed the story in jerking lines. I saw this. I read this. I am not okay. I am trying to be okay. I am shaking. I feel like vomiting. Everything in my stomach, in my chest, is too tight. I can’t vomit. I can’t talk. I can’t cry. I want to cry. I want to scream! Why me? WHY ME?

The ghosts still follow me. They escape in my envy. With every jealous thought that defies rejoicing, another ghost is born. It hangs on my back. It eats away at my body. It toys with my mind. It hurts and it hurts and it hurts. It hurts me so much that I must give that hurt away. I want to rake my daggers across a different chest. One that deserves it. Who deserves this pain? Why me?

I have tried. I will continue to try. But I want to ask How can I? It feels as though I have been wronged. There is no apology. I don’t want to forgive what can easily happen again. Where is the remorse? I don’t want to hear I’m sorry you’re alone. I want to hear I’m sorry I made you feel alone. I don’t want to hear I’m sorry you are hurt. I want to hear I’m sorry I hurt you.

Do I have a right to want these things? Do I have a right to ask for these things? Can someone make me feel alone if I am whole? If I am whole, can someone make me feel alone? Can someone hurt me, or can we only hurt ourselves? What is human, and what can I control? Am I a reactionary? Is it wrong? Or is it just hard not to be one? Is it an excuse? Is it forgivable?

The karmic perspective has been lost. There are too many questions. My mind is not clear. I know the answer is to meditate. The answer is to ask for help – not from humans but from spirit.

Must I ask for forgiveness? Or must I ask to forgive? I feel as though I cannot handle feeling this way another moment. I want to rejoice for the one who receives what I want, but I cannot bring myself to do it. I am insane. I am fully deluded. I count my flaws and I wish – how I wish! – I could be rid of them. Do I mean my wish? I think I do. I know I must meditate. I know I must not tell myself stories about my pain – past or present.

The stories feel true. The stories are not true.

I am tortured. I am suffering. The suffering is needless. The torture is self-inflicted. It would be so easy to stop the pain. It is so difficult to stop the pain. It is difficult doing what is right, even when what is right is simple, easy. I must cut the chains that threaten to pull me into the abyss. I must, instead, seek the wisdom in the place of emptiness. I must awaken from this nightmare. I must awaken from my dream state.

I will meditate.

I wish to be free.

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Masquerade

Lying beside my friend
I glanced sideways at her
and I said,
“I want to kill myself,”
the first time I said it out loud.

Her cheeks flushed,
embarrassed that I had uttered
the unutterable phrase and
determined that she
should not agree
with what I had to say.

“Everyone wears a mask,
I’m tired of them hiding,
I’m tired of hiding,
and I’m taking mine off
now.”

Her mouth opened to reply
to my bizarre, out of the blue
statement; her parted lips
spoke softly, soothingly,
devilishly calm:

“I guess I should also remove
the mask I have been wearing.
I don’t know how I’ve tolerated
your antics and dramatics
for this long.

“You telling me this, comes as
no surprise.
The look in your eyes
says you were not expecting
me also to have a disguise.
But do you see my face now?”

I did see it, but I made no sound,
rather, I began looking all around
searching for her discarded disguise
looking for the place
from which she drew her lies.

How long had we held this façade?
I wanted more than ever
to drain my own life flow
for this madness to be over
and never again to know
how it feels to be led astray.

While my lips frowned, hers smiled
with a kind of indescribable glee.
“I see I’ve caused you pain,
you silly selfish girl – for all
along you’ve seen yourself
but have you ever looked for me?

“You assumed I’d never wear a mask –
you assumed the best.
Your assumption, should it waver,
You still held in trust.
Do you not wonder if I am hurt
by your dishonesty also?”

I hadn’t.

Untitled

I

She let her dress slip so it hung off of her shoulder,

turned around, but then glanced back at me.

Her laugh danced like bells on the air.

I knew because I heard it earlier at the restaurant,

but I could not hear it now.

There was an ear-splitting, glass-shattering shaking and drilling which instilled tremors

in the ground we were standing on,

and tremors in my heart.

All I saw and felt and heard, however, was her, and her laugh, and

I mistook those tremors for a feeling called loved

which is a mistake I believe

so many people make and have made throughout time and history.

And I believe that this mistake can be held accountable

for many tragic events – take it from the Greeks.

I’m sure it wasn’t only them, it just took their obvious error to embarrass

politicians and presidents to better hide their own.

Walking behind her,

I slid both my hands down the back of her neck,

sweeping them over her shoulders and, carrying the dress with them,

down her arms.

Her skin was not too pale.  There were few freckles, but not enough to say she was freckled.

She was simply imperfect, and average, and in that moment,

she was mine.

My own shirt came tumbling off and in that second,

she pushed me.

I fell,

What some may say as falling hard –

and fell deep, into the water.

And this I also mistook for love.

Because in the presence of desire, everything seems like love:

the air you breathe,

and what you fall into,

and the tremors you feel in your breast.

And the nervousness and fear of looking like a fool

you mistake for butterflies,

and the fear of being rejected

you feel as fear of losing your beloved.

And none of it is real and none can be trusted

because if it all disappeared in that moment, you would live on,

your heart whole, even if cracked by disappointment of expectation.

She dived into the water beside me.   Her hand

gently tugging my pants off in the water

before she came up for air.

I had no fear of drowning as she swam into my arms and our combined weight and my

lack of swimming ability and strength caused us to sink further down.

It felt like I was falling further in love.

Some one, or two, people walking by shouted at us judgingly (and jealously it seemed to me), “Get a room!” and a little boy asked his mother, “Why are those people not trying to get out of the water?”

But we couldn’t hear them over the tremor in the sky,

like it was tearing apart and the world was ending, and

staring into each other’s eyes and lusting after each other’s bodies,

there was only us in the moment.

And her hand running over my body mixed with the watery sensation

and my legs kicking, struggling to stay afloat, caused me to cry out her name,

which I was really whispering,

but I swallowed some water and began to choke,

and I thought my coughing was actually cries of passion

because when you are in love, everything feels like something good. And as I

sank a little deeper, I fell for her a little harder, and my heart grew in size

to accommodate the amount of love I felt in my bosom.

Twenty minutes later, it was only she who emerged from the water.

Her dress was draped elegantly over the railing where she left it.

It fell over her shoulders like silk and didn’t hang or cling to one inch of her completely and suddenly dry body.

And she flung her lengthy locks over one shoulder, and they fell long and perfectly down her back.

And if her shoulder blades could feel love, they would have fallen for and with the hair

— as I had.

And where was I? I had sunk so deeply into the wondrous passion,

and felt so much amour for my dear

that I knew the water in my lungs, filling up the space made for oxygen,

was only her taking my breath away with her beauty and radiance.

And I knew the light disappearing from my eyes

was only so that I could experience her body and all passion

with my other senses so fully.

And I knew the rocky sand beneath my feet was our bed

and that panicky feeling – like drowning – I knew it was butterflies,

it was love.

I gave it all up for love,

and it was worth it.

If anyone tells you their feelings were a mistake, they were not in love.

They did not feel it all.

And how can I not believe that she did not feel the same? I know she did.

II

She walked home alone that night,

with a curious smile on her lips, one that said

she had another successful seduction,

one that asked,

Who’s next?

III

And the earth shook, and the stars fell out of the sky,

and she seduced the moon from its place in orbit.

The tide turned, my body washed on the shore, and I died

of heart break as I watched her traitorous arms wrap around the man in the moon.

The city streets flooded and the ocean’s emptied,

and somehow everyone stayed asleep.

And I was dead,

my heart in pieces.