Whenever you ask the rhetorical question of, “where do I begin?”, the answer is almost always and immediately, “at the start.” But what if you do not remember when it all started, or how? What if you cannot recall the way things began to fall apart in a way that felt as if it were falling into place, so perfectly that you couldn’t think to question it.
Some of us get so used to feeling incomplete, or lost, or vulnerable, that when we are inevitably struck again, we don’t even find it extraordinary anymore. It’s just business as usual. You wake up feeling like you haven’t slept. Realise you’ve been in bed for eleven hours and asleep for nine and still have a fatigue that plagues your bones. You have no energy and you have no appetite. You dream of coiled serpents underfoot as you bicycle through fields in the dead of the dark. Bright yellow vipers dig their fangs into your ankles leaving fluorescent puncture marks and you cannot remember the pain but you can’t bear the thought so you manage to put yourself in a swoon. And in a strange act of opposites, you wake in clammy disgust.
And there’s more. You keep crying, but it is never enough. You cry the moon out of the sky and it’s not enough. And you hear people saying things but you catch only some of the words; “sympathy”, “drama”, “guilt-trip”, “attention”. And you wonder if it could be true; if that really were the cause of your tears. And in a fleeting moment you imagine it to be true, and it makes you sick of yourself. Sick. But the feeling passes quickly and you know that you are many things but you are no liar. And your tears are real. Because your loss is real. Because she is gone and you are vacant. Because the pain is the truth, and your emptiness cannot be an act.
Where do I begin again? There is no start. There was but I can’t go back there. So where do we go, the ones who need to start again? Don’t tell me there is a new start to be had for us because I know the best I’ve got is a second-hand deal at the 2nd Chance Store. It’s not even my second attempt. It’s my twelfth. Or sixteenth. Or twenty-first. I don’t know. After a point it is embarrassing to keep score so you stick to second chances and imagine there is no dearth of them.
Sitting at the computer and typing furiously, my fingers are flying like alarmed bats across the keyboard whipping out letters, tapping out words. Anything. God, anything but get this son of a bitch feeling out of my system. It’s like a worm I can’t shit out. It’s like a wound that I need to close NOW. It’s like a hunger that does not cease. It’s like a hunger I cannot feed with anything but my own self and I am disappearing. I am vanishing into my own hole so quickly that I am afraid there will be nothing left. No residue. No evidence. No chance. No chances. No second tries. Or thirteenth. Or seventeenth. Or twenty-second. There will be no Restart Game button. There will nothing but a dark, black quiet.
And to think, it was all for love. Love that isn’t even around anymore to see what it left behind.
Fourteen. Eighteen. Twenty-three.
Stop it. Again is not a number.