Waking

Sitting in the dark of the cinema with Rose, alone but for one other person who sits quietly in shadow at the back, I enter into a grey world of stone and water and clouded sky. She walks a world that’s full of discomfort, chilled hands, awkward silence. I slip into her hands and feel the cold, the smooth wet stones by the water, the cold breath of the sea crashing.

It’s a world of closed mouths and watching eyes, the camera looks for us, touching horse hoof and curtain lace, tea cups, boiled egg, the texture of a life too poor to be buffered from sensation.

I walk out of my mind, my grey numb ash blown mind where the nightmares of death have taken hold and strangle laughter. Crab like, sideways, shuffle into someone else’s story, her eyes, her hands, her stubborn lonely loss. Her certainty.

I feel something

Other than dread, despair, terror, frozen.

Walking out again I try to hold onto it, the texture of life. Rose buys me flowers, they full the car with a scent of green freshness. I do budgets and paperwork and fall back into the well. I come out again to the flowers and inhale. Stand in the back yard naked and smell the tree and the sky.

We eat late, by a lamp, spiced meats and bread.

It’s not real, what’s killing me. It tells me it’s real, but it’s not. I’m still in ICU, holding Rose’s grey hand. I’m still waiting for the next blow to fall, too terrified to breathe. Flinching away from the unbearable. Sobbing rivers that can’t clean the wound in my heart or put my sense of security back together again.

I hate myself. I hate my life. Both loop endlessly. Between the nightmares where everyone I love dies. Between the mornings I can’t stop crying or get out of bed for hours. Choking down frustration and sadness and grief. Everything is meaningless. Everything means too much to bear.

I escape into company, into story, into sleep, and when I can I creep out of the ash into the very close texture of life and wake a little from the dream that’s killing me. Feel something else. Turn and find the ones I love still here, waiting for me.

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