There is a picture hanging in my bedroom, beautifully framed in silver. She sits perched on a rock, back to the world, watching the sun set into the darkening ocean in front of her. You might wonder about the girl in the frame, such an idyllic scene of calm and peace, the magnificence of the world before her. If you look closer you may notice that her shoulders are pulled perhaps a little too tight, her back straight and not relaxed as one would think, her arms and legs protectively close to her body. The sky is darkening and the rays of the sun leaving and I know in her heart, she too is feeling the darkness come in and the light fade.
It starts as a slow freeze, watching icicles form, corners of the heart hardening where it once pulsed softly, like watching each fragment that makes up our skin turn into ice piece by piece, the heart having less and less room to beat within, starting to feel confined and beating stronger and tighter into the space causing a suffocation to rise in the throat and the heart caged and pushing tight against the lungs.
Outside the rain falls, each droplet hanging like a tiny weight on each thread it clings too, the steady accumulation slowly creating a weight that takes hold. The rain a metaphor for the slowness, the weight of water pulling the arms and dragging the feet downwards, each step a monumental effort. One would think it would be easier to let the rain fall, the gentle rain, seeping into every fibre, saturating, the trickle leaking between the ridges and folds of the face, tears from the heavens, winding down the neck in cold rivulets, shivering the soul. Hair matted to the skull, leaking drops off the swollen ends, thick and full, bursting with shards of emotion to disappear into a watery grave.
My soul is so heavy, it cries in futility to be let free, beating fists against its invisible bars, turning in circles, wandering a never ending maze that ends where it begins to begin again, the cold rattling wind of despair whispering through. Hollow, a vacuum deep inside, sucking the life, soundless screams as the chambers empty of light, the dullness reaching and pulling itself up and in, digging into the walls with each effort to climb into the echoing emptiness, an infinite black hole, swirling in its vortex, feeding on every defeat and apathy, growing with each piece of surrender.
Thought is so far away, my own thoughts a mirage, hazy and so far away, my eyes glaze trying to find answer, the clarity. So slow, the synapses firing in slow motion, the sound muffled, decisions fading towards the mirage and I reach but my fingers move slower than time, I can’t make it to the mirage as beautiful as it may be. Underneath me the ground is barren and hard, the weight of water so heavy, each step interminable, every breath a surprise, words escape through lips of their own, surprised I am to hear them and I listen to hear what I say and do. The body its own temple, the Trojan horse, hollow, the shell for the force within, movements on a string governed by no force of my own, puppet to the owner, death-like in motion, encumbered with emptiness, selfish in its space, fierce, a rose covered in thorns, poison leaching the surface, loathe to touch, abhorrent and flinching from any that may try to near, recoiling and repulsing.
Nothing belongs to me but the chained soul, hidden so far and deep, aching and throbbing, buried within the heart, so sad it hurts, it aches, it writhes, she screams and I feel her, I feel her anguish, the despair so loud I want to wring out the unrelenting pressure, feel it molt and melt between my fingers, hot and heavy. My hands are filled with shards of glass, painful to touch, my feet burning from a non existent flame, needles pushing into every nail-bed, my limbs, my skin stretched so tight I fear it may tear, all seeking respite, strung like torture on a rack. Life is slowly receding into that space, the little space left within, my beating soul, with walls closing in, descending with the setting sun into the darkness, like the darkening sea swallowing the sun.
To draw the blade along the taut skin, watching the skin slide open, a trail of blood in the blades wake, at first slow, the astonishment and miracle of spreading flesh and warmth of life. It’s a drug, healing drug, as the pressure oozes from blood, the feeling a horror and fascination, but beautiful, beautiful easing pain. The first cut so tremulous, the release immeasurable, the next is quicker and faster, frenzied almost, wanting to feel more and more, insatiable need to bleed out the ugly, the wetness dripping hot beads of release. The rights and wrong jumbled into one, the salve so sweet, the demons leached, the scars too deep to repair, the thank you from within heartfelt, the regret from outside… so sorry for the wrong, it needed to go, I needed it to go. I slump, spent, finished, the cowardice of the moment ashamed, the reality fresh, nothing left neither inside or out, expunged and tired, now begins the rise from the fall, phoenix from the ashes.