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Bad Days

Sometimes I have really bad days. I just wake up and I can feel all this pressure mounting on top of me. And it's so hard to breathe. It's like trying to inflate and deflate a balloon over and over again. There's nothing on the inside except air and empty space. And I'm shaking. All the time I'm shaking from the effort of trying to pump this balloon over and over again. And I can pump and pump and pump all day long but it's like there's a giant hole. As soon as it inflates everything comes rushing out and I'm deflated again. And it hurts because there's so much emptiness where there was once so much filled. Memories. Images. Laughter. Jokes. Smiling. So much smiling that I never appreciated because I never thought I wouldn't have it. But everything is gone. I thought it would be easier if I just pretended you never existed, like we never shared anything. I can hide away all of our pictures and your clothes and I never have to see you, but I can still remember you. And remembering you brings so much pain because I keep trying to inflate that balloon but there's a hole in it and it keeps emptying out because air cannot heals wounds; not ugly gashes that cut so deep I think they even slice at my bones. Not without a lot of time.

And I'm so lonely without you, without your comfort. Very rarely did you ever have the perfect thing to say but at least you said something. At least I knew you were always there. And now you're not. You can't be. I'm trying to heal, I really am. I'm trying to move on and take every day as it comes, but everything reminds me of you. Every movie we watched together, every restaurant we ate at, even passing comments other people make that you've made before. Something so simple as, "It's hot out today."

Sometimes I have to remember to breathe. I close my eyes and I need to think to myself, in out, in out, in out. I need to focus on the air entering my body and force it out. Sometimes I test myself how long I can go without breathing. Forty six seconds right now. Don't worry, it's been medically proven you can't suffocate yourself by holding your breath. I checked.

No, I never wish I were dead. I know you wouldn't want that. I need to take advantage of everything life has to throw at me. One day I will become a successful engineer. I will build bridges and houses and the most beautiful skyscrapers. And always in the back of my mind I'll hear your voice. Encouraging me and telling me to aim higher than the stars. And I will hold on to that, because maybe it won't be as painful then. Maybe then I will be able to think about you without tears welling up in my eyes or my muscles going stiff. And that's when I'll know that that balloon has been inflated for good, repaired and reinforced with extra-strength duct tape, I suppose. But I miss you, dad. I really, really miss you.



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