Saying Goodbye

March 19, 2008
It’s a lot easier to go backwards than it is to go forwards. Common sense tells me that forward would be in my best interest, but the part inside of me that would rather take the easy way out always seems to win in these situations. I guess it’s like learning from your mistakes. You touch a stove, it’s hot, your hand gets burned, and you don’t do it again. Even a three year old can figure that one out. So why is it so difficult for me?

I watched my sister go through it. I saw most of the movies in health—at least the ones I didn’t sleep through—so why am I sitting here staring at the very thing that destroys so many lives? At the thing that destroyed your life and is destroying mine? I know it’s wrong—I do have some common sense—but it just doesn’t faze me anymore. I don’t even try to hide it; it’s become so much a part of me that no one even notices. You were the only one who understood me.

It’s just so easy to give in to all of this. It hypnotizes me and seems to laugh as it whispers, ‘sorry, no escape.’ No matter how many times I throw it away or how many times I promise myself that this time is the last time…I just wish I didn’t need it. Just looking at it is making my body crawl and my stomach flip. Sometimes I wish you were here to be my voice of reason.

I flip it between my fingers and drop it half-heartedly on the sheets. I want to find some way out and I could be doing something worse, so maybe I can talk myself into thinking that it’s not that bad. Right? Maybe this will help me forget you.

Everything around me is warm and hazy. When I close my eyes, everything slips away—I can feel it slip away. Like it’s all melting, all the bad stuff is just melting away and I am pure, and clean, and free. You used to love this.

I move toward the window and it’s like I’m swimming through the atmosphere. I reach in my pocket and pull them out, hit them against my hand, and light up. The smoke wafts slowly upwards towards the ceiling and then out the window. I can still see it when it disappears, like its left an imprint there. Wish you were here to remind me I was worth something.

Three hours has flown by like three minutes and I’m not exactly sure what time did with itself. All I know is that somewhere along the way I closed the windows and turned out the lights. After awhile I realize that I’m holding what feels like a picture in my hand. In the back of my head I know it’s of you and I can’t bring myself to look at it. I can deceive mirrors, and I can deceive people, and sometimes even myself, but I could never deceive you. You said that you can’t ignore the truth in people’s eyes.

The flame from my lighter burns my finger as I move it slowly in front of the photograph. It’s old; I’m not sure where it came from. Those eyes…why? It’s like you’re still right here, I can feel your weight on my bed and I can even smell you. But that doesn’t matter anymore. I don’t have the frame of mind to deal with this so I light it on fire and watch as the flame slowly engulfs the picture until only the ashes remain in my palm. It feels like I’m betraying you.

I remember when I got the call; I remember hearing the clatter of the phone on the ground and the world going blurry as hot tears ran down my face. You were only 17. I thought it was some cruel joke at first, thought that maybe some kids were trying to get back at me for something I did to them. I can’t even remember your funeral, I was so checked out. I didn’t even go up to your parents. I was ashamed. They always thought so highly of me…I wonder if they know I’m the reason that you’re gone.

I promised myself that I would stop for you. When I found out what happened…my world has never been shaken up like that before. I couldn’t stop thinking about you, thinking about all the times you had my back and how I had never really returned the favor. I know it’s cliché, but it really is hard to break old habits. I want to change, I want to prove that I can actually do something right. But I can’t do this alone. I hope you know how sorry I am.

You know things started to go downhill long before that call. I was always the instigator, I was the one drowning myself in anything I could get my hands on. Somehow what happened to you was my fault and I didn’t want any part in dealing with it; I’m not strong enough. While the guilt consumed me from the inside I let everything else consume me from the outside. It’s not like I all the sudden decided that I would turn to all this as a pain killer. It just got to me before you did.

13 years old, first big party ever. Thinking you’re really cool because your sister invited you to hang out with all the big kids. Still not knowing about things like ‘the rainbow room’ and ‘jelly bracelets’ and even liquor. Sorry baby, but that’s all about to change. The room is starting to spin and you thought you just asked for a coke and then someone’s leading you by the hand and you’re someplace dark and then everything disappears…
Once you realized what happened, you couldn’t get around how dirty it made you feel. Slightly ironic that your way of dealing with it was to dabble in the same arena that had led to the memory you repressed. Each day grew longer and each vice grew stronger. Sometimes to the point where whole days would disappear without you being able to remember a single thing. All because of that one night. All because you were scared. All because you wouldn’t admit to anyone that it happened. But someone found you that night. And he took you home. And he made sure you were ok. And he became your best friend. And you betrayed him.
Staring at the ceiling but things haven’t changed much. I really wish that I could cry, sometimes I think that maybe I would be able to function normally afterward. You always said that I was afraid to show my real self, I never believed. But you were right.
You never left my side, no matter what. Sometimes it blew my mind. Even worse, when you realized I was drowning, you drowned yourself too. You figured that if you experienced first hand everything I was feeling maybe, you’d be able to help me better. At the time I didn’t see anything wrong with it, you manage to block out all the lows and focus on the highs. I can’t believe I did this to you.
Sitting on my bed again, I can feel the chills coming on and I know that it can’t be good. But the ashes are still in front of me along with everything else. My head is pounding and I’m not quite sure what to do. It’s so easy to slip back into old habits. I could kill this off right now, head it off at the pass and not have to worry about anything at least until morning. But if I man up and deal with all of this than maybe I won’t feel so guilty all the time. Maybe I’ll be able to deal with the fact that you’re gone.
It’s right there, so close. I can hear it laughing again. My hands are shaking as they hover directly above. Maybe tonight I can be strong. Maybe, just maybe, I won’t back down. Without thinking I walk slowly towards the window. I lift it open. The air seeps in. I stare blankly at the stars and blow smoke out of nose. I wish you were here. Maybe then you could tell me, why it’s so hard to say goodbye?

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