To be split in two, and lose sight of both
To my sister, who death became once.
My pain is classed as ordinary. The loss of loved ones, the sight of blood on my hands, on my shirt, on my jeans, on my face. On his wrists, on his knees. On his flawless jawline. On his eyelids and brow. Of whatever jokes and soliloquies he had left to tell, dying with him, on his lips. On his lips on my chest. The feel of his hair clasped in fingerfuls, rocking him to sleep, urging him to stay awake. Tell me his poetry. The clench and unclench of my pitiful, unworthy, working heart, whilst his slowed and called and was left unanswered. My right hand holding both of his up, willing circulation to ebb away from him arms, to stay inside. It ran down my wrists. Like a last chance, it ran under my shirt and down my side. And it was everywhere. I slept in those clothes for two days, the classic outfit I was recognised for, it stays folded in a place I do not dare to go near. My lips on his temple, no drum beating there.
Last words don’t mean anything. They are blurry and drugged. A reaction, not a processed thought. So then they found me, wrists blue and fingers numb, still holding his hands up, resting and smeared against the wall behind. My other arm around his neck, my knees drawing his to his chest. Blood and salt and sweat. They pried my clasp away, surveyed the damage, pulled the shell out from my aching embrace. They lowered my arm, asked me things I didn’t understand. I told them I needed my friend. Reached both my arms out, clenched and unclenched my hands. All of this crystal clear. I let slip my name and someone lifted me, I was repulsed by their touch. I remember a syringe and waking to scream obscenities at the normal, emotionless white walls. I spat and swore and tore at their uniforms. I accused them of theft. Of not doing their job. I shoved their offerings to the floor, a thousand pieces of a water glass I would not care for.
And this his face. My savior, in dark denim and concerned eyes. Rage drained, seconds stopped. He lifted me from the cave of white sheets and pulled my hardened clothes to his torso. Wrapped my legs around his waist and did not let me go for what felt like hours. Hot on my neck, his hurt ran into mine.
And then he left. And he died, too. So who is here to strap me up with the taut bandages of caring appendages? Who will stop me screaming at faultless faces? Who will see the horror that has wound itself through and around every vein and ligament. Who will note the terror I witnessed, and reap half, to keep me sane.
Sometimes I am my own worst enemy. I stain my eyes white and pretend the red and black never ran through. Surrounded by humans, with their own take on emotions, their own problems, but I feel utterly alone. Because only one person witnessed what I did. And he left me alone, too.
Death in my arms, dear sister. This is a story I will never tell you. Because I remember you, still, over the toilet bowl at 1am. The pale faced men saying: You should be dead. I remember every lost soul in that institution of yours. And whilst I have witnessed life lost, you died several times, in no less dramatic fashion. I know, I know, you would slip tendrils into my pores and leech some agony out to be yours. I can’t risk what this situation, what my memories and nightmares, would do to you.
I am not ready to say goodbye, yet. I see you both almost everywhere. You, with the dusty blonde feathers, you gaze at me sorrowfully through my filmy bedroom window. And you, still in your white gown, you make me tea in the mornings, knowing I can’t handle food after a night blessed only with blood and a game of tag, where I never do clasp your shirt.
I miss the simple touch of human gentleness, but slap it away, because if they too leave, I will be lost again. In a night where I hold my own hands and wake to find both numb, crescent moons on the opposite of palms. But I have never missed an arm around my waist so much.
So, here I lean, wishing I had the courage to let someone please pick up the shards I have dropped, layer them back on, with soft fingertips and lips. I miss you, and you. But I miss you also, and you, and the you I may not have met yet, who might be able to drag me out from all of this.
Have I met you yet? Have I shoved you away too?