Time slows when the grief hits. Grief, an unmistakable, poisoned blood that leaks from your heart and seeps into your bones. The kind of wound invisible to the naked eye; one that is ignored until you’re left to endure your own rotten soul in a pit of loneliness you dug for yourself. I don’t know how I got here.
Time, a cruel master, who lives only to extend our suffering and minimize our enjoyment. We are given numbered days and told to treasure them. When our bad days outnumber our good ones, we are told to count our blessings. When our good days are plentiful, we are told they won’t last forever. Optimism is a crime in a world where nihilism reigns supreme. I don’t know how I got here.
What do you do when you promised to kill whoever hurt them, but the one who ended up hurting them the most was yourself? Is the solution to bring a fast end to your own solemn self, or keep pressing on in the name of a better future? Is there a solution at all? What’s worse, the endless abyss on the outside or the inside? Internal or external eternal damnation? I know but one thing, I will contemplate this dilemma for good and all. I don’t know how I got here.
What could have been the best day of your life turned into the worst. I can’t say it would’ve been the best day of mine. No matter what I chose, I would’ve sealed a fate of doom for myself. A fate of loneliness and a fate of companionship can be synonymous in their reality of eternal affliction. A ring can be freedom, but a ring can be confinement. I refuse to be confined by anyone, especially not you. Not by the man I loved for so long, not by the loss of the life I had with you. I control my own destiny. Tonight I will make that clear. I don’t know how I got here.
It should’ve been me, holding your face and wiping your tears. It should’ve been me telling you not to cry, that I’m here. That I’ll always be here. By your side, ready to hold your hand through your darkest times. But instead I’m here. Writing a love letter, or perhaps a lack of love letter. Some may call it a suicide note, but its not. It's a lack of love letter. A lack of love for you, for myself, for living. Addressed to the abyss. I watch as tears and what has to be blood seep into the corners of the page. I don’t know how I got here.
It shouldn’t matter. Logically, without any emotion involved whatsoever, my death should mean nothing to you. The girl who shattered your glass heart after promising you to hold it forever should mean nothing to you. However, I know that the thought of you dying, leaving me, is terrifying. I’m sure it felt the same for you when I left. I still think about you all the time. I shouldn’t obsess over you any longer. Your safety, your happiness, your goals and dreams and needs. You are no longer my responsibility. I was never supposed to be in charge of your well being. Yet, I always was. I still am, deep down. My soul doesn’t know how to let yours go. I don’t know how I got here.
I am scared of the day I attend your funeral. Though you aren’t mine anymore, I always had you. By losing you I lost everyone affiliated with the idea of “us”. They chose you. They all did. All I have left is my own ambitions, and I am terrified of losing everything I have. Everytime I believe I’ve hit rock bottom, I find something else to lose. The universe keeps taking the few pebbles of precious things I have left. I thought I would always have you, and I was the one to let you go. How could I be so afraid of losing what I chose to throw out? You aren’t mine anymore. I did that. I don’t know how I got here.
I watch a cockroach crawl against the wall of my filthy Brooklyn apartment. It makes its way into one of the various clumps of laundry I haven’t touched in weeks. A singular window resides above them. It is fogged, blurring the street lights reflecting against the unforgiving night sky. The cabernet I poured is currently staining my carpet amidst shards of broken glass. It looks like a Renaissance painting in some twisted way. Mom won’t be happy to know the wine I stole from her got wasted. I don’t know how I got here.
There are two halves of the soul inside of me. One desperate to die, one longing to live. One hates myself, one loves myself. One wants to be beloved, famous, and successful. One wants to never be seen again. One tells me to starve myself and one tells me to run, run fast with your feet pelting hard against the pavement until your lungs collapse and your heart goes with it. One wants to make art, one wants to make money, One loves you, one doesn’t. I can’t tell the difference between them. I don’t know how I got here.
There is one point I will assert myself against you on: Your gratuitous, ill timed proposal ruined my life. I lost all my friends, my family is so disappointed in me; all because I rejected you. It wasn’t much of a life to lose, though. That I can only blame myself for. I prioritized you above all my other relationships and left myself completely alone without you. Career wise, majoring in English Literature was never a good plan. Now I’m doomed to teaching high schoolers, if I’m lucky. For now, I’m stuck selling the books of people living my dreams, or damn close to. But not for long. Not if I go through with this. I don’t know how I got here.
The phone rings. I throw my arm over to the edge of the coffee table where my phone presides, exerting far too much effort in the process, and press the power button to silence it. I don’t know how I got here.
The copper taste of blood on my tongue is revolting. My lips are so chapped they’ve started to bleed. A wave of nausea hits me as I double over. I am only contributing to the twisted, knotted mess of a person I’ve become. When’s the last time I drank water? When’s the last time I ate? When’s the last time I hungered for anything, anything at all? I don’t know. I don’t know anything. I don’t know how I got here.
Time is supposed to heal all wounds. I should give this time. I have to, right? Or else it won’t heal. But even if it does, the scar it leaves behind will be ugly. No matter what I do, I won’t ever be able to hide it. You will linger on me like an infected, careless, mistake of a tattoo. I don’t know how I got here.
Time to go. Time to go. Time to go. I need to leave. I need to die. I need to be free. Free of all this. Free of the lack, of the heartache, of the loss and the rock at the end of the precipice that is living slamming into my bones. Of the constant effortless endless pain, and the dull ache in my husk of a heart that never ceases. I don’t know how I got here.
What?! Die?! Doesn’t that seem a big extreme? You ask me, from somewhere far away. Perhaps just in my mind. No, definitely just in my mind. Where? When? The memory of you persists in my subconscious. Well, baby, here and now. I’ll tell you how it ends. With a pounding headache and enough Aspirin to kill a horse. I don’t know how I got here.
What is the point? I can’t help but wonder, as I get closer and closer to death, what the point is of giving up. The point of living can be found in nothing. It can be found in existence itself. But the point of death? Harder to place or understand. Why should I give in now to the void that calls to me with sweet melodies and promises of relief? Why give the devil the satisfaction of knowing he destroyed me when I swore he never would? No, I simply refuse to let him win. I won’t kill myself. I won’t down this bottle of pills shaking in my trembling hand. I will persevere. I will let the migraine and the depression pass for tonight and in the morning clean up the wine.The wine I was going to use to chase my poison. I don’t know how I got here.
It is harder than it sounds, pulling myself up off the floor. I beg and plead with my limbs to cooperate with my mind. I shiver and I ache, but I don’t move. Eventually I resort to brute force that sends the agony piercing from my skull down my spine, but I am standing. I trudge from my perch at the base of my couch six feet to the door frame that leads to my hallway. I peer down the dark passageway that is my current foe. What I used to traverse with ease, the simple path to my bedroom, seems to be an eternity away. I don’t know how I got here.
It takes all my effort to trek my way down the hallway, slog through my bedroom door, and collapse onto my bed. It hasn’t been made, and the red sheets wrap around me like a much needed embrace. This was a good decision, a great decision. This feels good, This is comfortable. My headache got worse with the effort of walking, but it seems to be far away now. Like the pain is happening to another person, a stupid person, who left the love of her life. I grab a pillow and hold it hard. I can pretend it's him, but I don’t want to. He wasn’t, you weren’t, the love of my life. I am not a stupid girl. I trace the seam of my sheets with a trembling finger. I don’t know how I got here.
I fall asleep to the beat of my heart pounding in my chest, in my head, while my whole body shakes. I dream of singing songs that I’ve written on a stage in front of thousands of people. Thousands of people cheering my name. They all love me. They all want me around. They are all proud of me. They want to be me, for I am enviable. It is so drastically different from my reality it is laughable. It would’ve been quite nice, to never wake up. I don’t know how I got here.
I wake to the sound of my next door neighbors' kids laughing and cheering. The apartment walls are very thin, but I don’t mind the spreading sounds of joy. My head has ceased aching, and for the first time in weeks, I am hungry. And very, very thirsty. I pull myself up with less effort than it took the night before and sit in the midst of my red, comforting sheets. I throw my legs off the side of my bed and slide onto the floor. I work for a few moments until I am standing. I try to maneuver my way to the kitchen, and to my surprise I make it. I use the sink to get myself half a glass of water and drink it all. Upon swallowing, I come to a startling realization: I am alive. I look around my messy apartment, see the piles of laundry, dirty window, cluttered table and wine-stained carpet. It looks… manageable. The giants I faced the night before aren't so monumental after all. I don’t know how I got here.
There is nothing to do now besides clean. That’s what I’m telling myself. If I think about the fact that I have a month’s worth of assignments to do and emails to respond to I might scream. So instead of trying to do everything all at once I focus on one task at a time. I start by moving all the dirty dishes in my kitchen and on my table to the dishwasher. Simple enough. Then I start rummaging through the piles of clothes, moving them into baskets to be cleaned later. The cockroach is nowhere to be found, which is worrying. Even so, the apartment I borrowed from someone a lot better off than me already looks a lot neater. I am proud of myself. I don’t know how I got here.
There is nothing better than cleaning off my coffee table and finding a full bottle of pills next to my relationship photo album and a hopeless lack of love letter. I am pleased that I am the one cleaning them up, not a police officer who had the misfortune of finding me. As tempting as death is, I must find liberation in living. I must turn my pain into my resolution. As I tuck the album and the letter into the bottom drawer of my most overlooked piece of furniture I realize it is now time to face my most daunting task: The shattered glass of cabernet on my floor. Not only is it a huge mess, but it reminds me of just how close I was to dying last night. Shivers run down my spine, but I ignore them. I observe the blood-like shade of the drink splattered on my floor. What gets red wine out of a carpet? Particularly a carpet I do not own? I decide I better google it. I don’t know how I got here.
The phone starts to ring again. I walk over to the coffee table and read the name of the contact. To my surprise, it wasn’t you. It wasn’t my mom, it wasn’t any of my friends or your family calling to berate or scold me. None of the people who had been calling me for weeks. It was an unknown number, not saved in my phone. With nothing to lose, I answered the call. I don’t know how I got here.
The person on the other end of the line is none other than Persephone James, the owner of the Sunset Park Club that I’ve been reaching out to for months. She saw my emails about wanting to book a gig with her. She looked me up and liked what she saw. I can’t believe it. My songs, the songs I wrote, were going to be played and sung by me in the Sunset Park Club. For the first time since the word “No” left my mouth three months ago as I watched your face fall, I feel happy. I am overjoyed, even. My hopes, my dreams, my future, I can make them all happen on my own. I can make myself happy, I can give myself something to live for. Completely overexcited and suddenly full of energy, I thank Persephone and hang up the phone. I manage to grab my song book and change into a somewhat socially acceptable outfit. I am going to drive to the studio to make some new music, music to play for a live audience in a famed Brooklyn club. I may never know how I got here, but all I can do now is keep going.