The In-Between

May 5, 2010
When I planned to die, I didn’t consider the possibility of limbo.

Limbo, I thought, was the immature game of pole and coordination, played on skates so as to further the bruises. This was my definition of the term; God had something different planned. I would have preferred the poles and bruises.

I was trapped in some purgatorial stasis. I was not the me with wrists slowly bleeding out in the bathtub, yet I was neither the me entering pearly gates. Shuddering into another state, a trembling manner of matter and spinning atoms, I seemed to sigh in exasperation. I wasn’t surprised, per se. This was my lot in life. Or rather, the space between life and death. Death would be welcome, I thought. This halfway existence was not appealing, barely bearable.

After what seemed like an eternity (a little cosmic humor) I sensed myself becoming more, or perhaps less. Regardless, my environment was changing, shifting. I toppled from nowhere onto the sturdy welcome sign of Kentucky. Kentucky! I had never been one for swaying grasses and thick accents.

I learned to glide, to enter solid material and turn it to liquid. But there was a tug, a magnetic pull drawing me to a certain quaint suburbia. I followed the lure and sank into the walls of a house much like any other on the block. Its inhabitants were altogether un-together.

There was a boy. Not just a boy, not merely a boy, but the boy. A spark of burning fire smoldered in his chest and fascinated me. I wanted to reach through him, feel him from the inside out. It was perfection; it was flawed. A barrage of emotions ran along my empty veins, dancing upon the ragged scar tissue still gaping from my mistakes. He was making me whole.

He struggled, writhed, agonized. And I, a mere unimportant observer, could not interfere, was incapable of offering aid. My unmoving heart bended and threatened to snap neatly in half. How I loved him.

As I watched, a curse fell upon him, a curse of growing up. The transformation of child to adult wrought more changes than just the physical. Though those became distracting enough.

He had a long, lithe body and sleek smiles. There was sunlight in his pores, glittering amber gemstones set into his face as if by an old master.

He had stretched doubly; the lengthy expanse of bone tower was a topical feature, but it was his mind that suffered the full treatment of age. Since I was a part of him, and he a part of me, I could witness the whirring of his mind on a live feed. It was reality tv.

“My parents have always made it clear that I was adopted. That’s something they’ve never tried to hide from me,” he said, murmuring to no one, twisting himself into a cocoon of soiled sheets. “That’s something they’ve…”

A crack of sudden lightning tore the gilt frame of my vision, and I’m lying on the carpet. A smashed-in cigarette butt greets me with a hearty ‘hello.’

He is raging, and my useless gelatin spirit can only lay prostrate. I reach for him, fall.

“I don’t know why I’m angry!” he warred. “I only know that this is who I am. I can’t change myself. I shouldn’t have to.”

This lovely creature defied injustice. His mother lurked somewhere above, flapping her wings grotesquely, antagonizing. He was right. Of course he was right, because he was true. Honesty seeped from him like musk. I leaned closer and inhaled. He inhaled some other substance, smoking away the pain of in-between. He was my drug, so I identified.

A girl came to visit. I wished bad voodoo upon her from miles away, but the Bird came. She came.

The Bird was brown and beautiful, with large eyes and feminine features. She was the epitome of desire; she was a sin. He welcomed her into his arms with an urgency that made me weep. He was afraid. Would her skin against his instill the uncommon numbness he searched for? Did the peace of mind he longed to discover exist in the swell of her lips? Was she his eraser of dark memories, the lighter which would burn holes in the black tapestry of his immediate past? Could those things be erased at all? He tried. He tried.

I watched as he raged, and smoked, and loved. I wished I could be the Bird for one day, one hour. I wanted nothing more than to be able to touch him without falling right through.

Why was I here? What wrongs had I done in my lifetime to deserve this torture? I swore at God, at his Archangels and their harps and harmonicas. I shook my fist at the me still leaving life behind in my bathtub. The tub had long since overflowed, the faucet run too long and the blood too abundant. If only, if only.

As time passed, I watched him shrug off his skin slowly, unraveling crinkly parchment like a snake. It was a tiresome process. I grew just as exhausted as he. But this was not my limbo to face. It was his, and he must embrace it like an old friend if he were to survive. I willed him strength that I did not possess, hoping he’d feel me. I shouted clichéd words of wisdom, knowing he would not hear me.

The anger grew, swelled, and reached a breaking point. His caramel eyes were fevered and animalistic. I was losing him to basic human emotions, just as I had been lost by hopelessness. He collapsed on his bed, and I wrung my hands from the rafters. There was a gun, a click of the clip being loaded. His fingers trembled.

No! I could not lose him to this, could not lose him at all. He would not be lost.

“Give me a sign,” he cried. “Show me that you care, that I matter.”

I shrieked with terror, with indignation; of course he mattered. He was the world. I ran around his room like an Olympian athlete, screaming obscenities. In my desperation, I tried to grab his face, to no avail. The light in his chest was flickering, ticking out a count-down to total devastation. I threw myself repeatedly against his window, begging it to shatter. I passed through it many times, weeping.

Then, on what seemed like my hundredth attempt, the glass fractured. The spider web crack continued along its surface, expanding. I renewed my effort joyfully, knowing that salvation lay in the breaking of this glass.

God, I thought, if you can hear me please help. I can’t do this alone. No one can.

And the window was ruined, the fracture spreading to each corner and destroying the entirety of it.

He dropped the gun in shock. Then he placed his darling face in his hands and sobbed.

My work was finished. I realized this now. His limbo was linked inextricably to my own.

I was not the bloody me, the foolish me, nor the me who would be saved by a higher power. As I had intervened, so had the person who was most important and vital to me, in this and any other life.

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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

insaneex said...
May 18, 2010 at 4:52 pm
Aubles, Hunny bunches of oats. This is and forever will be my favorite story that you have written :) I love it.
Asif_by_magic said...
May 14, 2010 at 10:53 am
I really enjoyed this. It was incredible. :)
Clairepoetry said...
May 13, 2010 at 10:14 am
this is one of favitores so far in teen ink no lie your words are so deep written in this article it moved me.
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