I can’t sleep anymore. I close my eyes, and the images flash and blur. There is a sea of bursting, roiling colors that should not mean anything, but does. It represents moments so seared onto my brain, that even the random phosphenes of tired eyes translate into recreated history.
There is so much red. God, my memories drip with it. I can smell it. I can taste it, metallic and bitter, sticking in my mouth because I can’t swallow. I can’t eat. Because, when I do, all I taste is blood, and I think of you. I think of you.
The tinnitus in my ears is always gunfire. I feel as if I should cower on the streets, run from the hail of bullets, because it is always there like it always was before, chasing me for eternity. I’ve learned to pretend to ignore it, to pretend that my past doesn’t now control me, to walk along the sidewalk without taking cover in nearby alleys. My heart still beats with the power of a freight train within my chest. Sometimes, I wonder if people can see it, if they see my sternum jumping up and down in a quick tattoo, if they can see the fear I cannot forget. People don’t though.
I can feel it too. The pain flashes intense and acute at odd moments, from any part of me, as if some long forgotten bullet has finally found its mark. I imagine that it will cause me to join you, but there is never anything actually there, just ghosts. The only pain I know is real is that ache which won’t leave my heart, that makes every moment so hard to breathe in. You took with you something there, something that can never be replaced. I can never be whole without you, and I wonder if life’s worth anything when I feel so broken.
I can’t sleep anymore. I roll back and forth on my bed, trembling and shaking, with a pain too great to express. One time, when my eyes too weak to hold their own, they fluttered to a close, and I dreamt of you before. I had felt nothing like that happiness, that pure and unadulterated bliss in so long. It must have sent a spasm into my brain, forcing me to consciousness once more before I could even savor the moment.
It hurt so much to have had you, even an imagined image of you, in my hands, and to lose you once more.
Is it wrong that I sometimes blame you? For having my heart, then leaving me alone? I know you did not mean it to end this way, in blood and sweat and tears. It is not the future we imagined. We were idealistic idiots, weren’t we? We were just mere children believing in a better future, which would never come. Now, I feel the ages the world pressing down on me like a smother.
Sometimes, I think living will kill me. I don’t know for how much longer I can continue subsisting. Surely, without sating basic physiological needs such as sleep and food, I will die soon, right? I can meet you in death, but we would both be dead, so it is likely that neither of us would know of it. However, if life brings no pleasure, at least death can be a panacea to the pain of living.
You wouldn’t like it though, would you? God, you were always so bright, kind, and impossibly moral. How is it that you’re gone and not I? What kind of messed up god would ever allow that?
You would want me to live. Sometimes, I picture you at my side. I can smell you. I feel your breath on my cheek, your hand on mine. You hold me, like I held you when life fled your perfection. You tell me I should go on, that I’m strong enough to leave this behind when I feel so weak. You tell me that I will learn to walk alone without your bright light, though I may stumble now.
You were always right about everything then, but the distance between us mutes your voice in my head. Sometimes, I think you, at least my imagined representation of you, are wrong. Not enough though that I will stop trying, not yet.
I saw a kid in a park the other day. He had one of the white canes reserved for the blind and glasses around his eyes. It must have happened recently, as each step was hesitant and quiet. His mother hovered in the background, but I think the kid didn’t even realize she was there. He was frowning intently, trying to figure out the world when he had no eyes to see it by. He had been so dependent on his vision and never even thought that he might lose it. It was obvious he was grief-stricken, and yet, he was moving on, one minute, careful, clumsy step at a time.
You were my eyes, and now I must learn to walk in the dark.