~*potentially slightly triggering*~

A few shards of glass were clinging on the outside of the window’s pane; upon the top floor of a building. Inside that apartment… mouldy and dull coloured carpet, squishy underfoot. Rain blew into the room, eating away at the plain furniture, flat mattress and barren walls. A whole life had been lived in this room, a child born onto a rug, a teenager coming home to throw their bag on the floor, and an adult who sat and stared at the stars or watched TV shows until their mind was successfully subdued. Absent parents, one deceased after difficulties during birthing, the other… might as well have joined her dead wife for she became the epitome of living death.   

As soon as 18 candles were placed on a cake and then blown out, that mother vanished, simply left the child that her wife had died to give life to. No siblings, no family to turn to. No one. The child was left alone to grow up in that same apartment that had locked up their birth mother’s soul, their gaze forever inescapably drawn to that rug, where the light in a young woman’s eyes had died. Where their mama had howled and collapsed as she clutched her wife’s hand, hopelessly. 

That child had killed its mother. And its mama too.

The responsibility and guilt never left them, any quiet moment would be filled with that screech and hoarse vulnerability that had climbed out of their mama’s larynx. Obviously, the child was just a newborn then and had no memory of this, but it was easy to reconstruct. To piece together the blood and the tears. If only it were easy to piece together a broken heart. 

So just like that, the child grew up, bouncing from one ineffectual thought to another. 

Sam’s feet rose and spun, hand reaching the vintage turntable and positioning the needle with tender, careful fingers. Melodies and harmonies engulfed Sam as they swayed and hummed along. The bass delicately struck up a pulse in the floor, their neighbours would certainly hear it. The floor was thin, the walls even thinner. 

Copper mixed with alcohol and drifted around the room, snowballing and picking up an array of scents from fungal growth to spilt pasta sauce. It had just been one person in that room for so many years and now a whole group of people filled the space, gloved hands picking up a fallen vinyl and more hands of latex placing bloody fragments of glass into a plastic bag. A blanket was pulled inside, rips torn through the slim material.

The unaccustomed floorboards creaked, dismayed by the current company in a life so full of solitude. 

When alone there was nobody to hurt but yourself, nobody to give you joy but yourself. 

It was amazing how one could feel so simultaneously alive and dead while they danced, slack faced but limbs snapping in their air to the beat of the crackling record. It was happiness, or at least a facade of one, an illusion that hid the hollowness waiting behind those lies. To dance was to feel each movement flood their veins and give life to their stilled heart. To dance was to feel the whisperings of air and memories whooshing past their naked arms. 

Dancing was a cheap joy.

It wouldn’t take long for this case to be amended. Their small collection of belongings would be thrown out and the room would be refurbished and sold. A new family would move in and be haunted by that intrusive vacancy. Fake words and niceties would be murmured by priests around a casket left unattended. To fade from life with no one at your side could not be as bad as foretold.

If dancing was the cheap joy, the sweet amber of alcohol would be the disguised expense behind it, chuckling and coaxing. A drain on any source of income. All joy had a price.

An ocean of ruptured arteries decorated the sidewalk.

The bottle to their mouth and a quiet giggle, liquid burning their throat and settling wearily on an empty stomach. Nothing to absorb the drink, it could explode like red hot lava at any given second, but still, Sam downed more, layering whiskey on rum and rum on gin.

You should never mix your drinks.

The body was cast in a surreal crimson light, one second it would be illuminated in red and then in blue as the ambulance approached. But too late. 

A scream gurgled up out of their soul, the music churned and distorted in a cacophony of eerie sound, nothing was right anymore and the ground jolted, Earth moving more than it should be. Their hands were going to their head, a flood rising above their head and drowning their cries. Sam threw the bottle, watching it hit the wall and break into thousands of tiny crystals.

There was no satisfaction in the shattering of glass.

No satisfaction in anything.

They picked up records and threw them across the room, addicted to the clattering of dead objects.

But still no satisfaction. Just an empty regret.

Medics cradled their hair, blood staining dreadlocks and tangling it in a knotted heap. Bones were twisted into unnatural shapes and small cuts lay upon their cheekbones, small fragments of glass still embedded in the bloody wounds. 

Anger bubbled up, furious and self-indignant, shaking hands clutching at the barstool and its mocking eyes, bashing it with all their force against the window.

Dull eyes looked upon what they had done. In the back of their head, a small voice reminded them of their failure to provide, their inability to pay for window repairs. Stumbling, Sam let the tears further blur their eyes as they searched for a jacket or blanket to cover the gap and some tape, all the fury was gone from their limbs and numbness reclaimed the void in their soul. 

Sam was lifted into the ambulance, sirens were silenced and the vehicle made drove off.

Sam pulled a tattered and stretchy blanket over the window frame. It was too cold to leave it completely unsolved. At least it would stop some of the rain.

Blunt nails fiddling with the end of the tape, trying to breathe through the haze and see one cohesive image instead of two. They taped the blanket, roughly ripping the tape with their teeth. It did nothing to hold the fabric in place. They let out another pained cry, frustrated to no end. The record player finished its vinyl, it ceased spinning and the needle moved back to its position. Sam shook their head. Took a deep breath and went to lean back against the frame to finish the job. 

Their hand connected with nothing and the already swirling world that had been thrown into a blender was pushed off balance. 

Sam toppled out of the five-storey apartment complex, back arching as they reached back up to the sky, starlight fuzzy and minimal behind a cloudy night sky. There was a moment of plummeting before the lights went out forever within Sam’s mind, before they even hit the ground. It wasn’t meant to end like this… Where was the miracle, the happy ending that they were meant to have one day? Where was the life, the family? The day to turn around this miserable existen— 

The ground smacked into them. Bones crackled. Bruises blossomed. Blood oozed.

“Another Christmas suicide.” 

Maybe if they had family that was to be told this, they would care more about the inaccurate conclusions of those who would never know the true limits of suffering. And how those limits were breached.

All with no intention to do so, the child had ruined three lives.

June 10, 2021 21:22

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