Title: The Things You Said (never made sense)
The night is broken.
It’s a quiet enough area, the drunken shouts of a group of women filter over from about two streets over, the hum of cars from further away, almost too low to hear.
It’s a Saturday, I think. There are people two streets over, happy, having fun, vulnerable, unaware.
My breathing is controlled, shallow. The movement rolls down through my gut, even though the air only seems to reach my breastbone.
Annie is jogging alongside me, even though I’m only walking. Her expression is strained; she’s focused on leaving the house.
My feet make soft slaps on the damp ground and I’m not even focused on where I’m going, I just know I am.
Voices build inside me, vying for my attention. I focus on my footsteps.
“Easily broken, aren’t we Mitchell?”
“Mitchell? Oh, Mitchell, I thought you knew better than this.”
“You can’t have everything you’ve ever wanted you know?”
“Oh, smile for me Mitchell? Please? It’s not all bad.”
Slap. Slap. Slap.
“Pure desperation. Isn’t it beautiful?” Slap.
“You’re the only thing holding you back, you know?” Slap. Slap. “Isn’t there any way-”
Slap. “-that you can just enjoy yourself?” Slap. “You know, I’d help you if you’d only ask.” Slap. Slap. “You’re so, so incredible Mitchell.” Slap. Slap. Slap. “Patience, Mitchell, patience. If there’s anything you’ve got to learn now, it’s-” “They’re coming, c’mon we’ve –” Slap. “I shouldn’t have to be doing-” “On your knees Mitch-” “RUN!” Slap. Slap. Slap. Slap. Slap. “Why don’t you tell us-” “Please, Mitchell, stay,” Slap. Slap. “You can’t change who you are Mitchell-” “There’s a part of you that isn’t there anymore, am I right?” “Honest mistake Mitchell. Could happen to-” Slap. “Do you expect someone to save you Mitchell? Do you?” “It’ll take more than that to-” “Not here, are they?” Slap. Slap. Slap. Slap. “Mitchell? Are you paying-” “Where do we go now?” “They’re all looking at us, Mitchell,” Slap. Slap. Slap. “What are you searching for Mitchell?” "SHHHHHH! They’ll hear us!” Slap. “I’m sorry, Mitchell, I just don’t-” Slap. Slap. “Mitchell, I can’t-” “DON’T, Mitchell –” “There’s nothing there, Mitchell,” Slap. “Mitchell, I-” Slap. “Why, Mitchell-” Slap. “Mitchell-” Slap. “Mitchell-” Slap. “Mitchell-” Slap. “Mitchell-” Slap.
“Mitchell, listen to me!”
She spins me around. My breath is ragged.
White noise fills my ears, bringing a blissful confused silence.
Annie’s mouth is moving but I don’t care.
Darkness tries to creep into the edge of my vision. I hold it back.
“-do that for me Mitchell? Can you-”
“-brown, Mitchell? I’ve seen you-”
“-please, Mitchell, please-”
I try to focus on her mouth.
“-your eyes brown for me? Can you do that?”
“Thank you.” She squeezes her eyes and tentatively puts her arms around me, holding properly when I don’t try to eat her. (Why would I?) “Thank you.”
She’s breathing into my neck, but there’s no movement of air, I can’t feel it.
She moves away, sliding her hand into mine to pull me along.
I can’t feel that either.
I watch, disconnected, as she follows the brown government signs to the hospital.
For a time, the sound of my footsteps fills me. There’s nothing else I can process.
And then there’s choked noises that Annie can’t hear yet. And it seems there’s more of me that can be filled.
And the first cry of pain.
And it’s unbearable, the pain and the noise and it’s filling my head and I’d do anything to not be so unbearably charged.
We’ve reached the door and the cries are coming out jagged, torn, and each break catches the back of my throat.
And everything is rushing through me, everything, and it’s the sort of thing I might try to get rid of with exercise or hitting something but I’ve already run through the halls of the hospital and that didn’t help.
And each cry is louder, more pain filled than the last, and I am filled to bursting.
And the cries go silent, and I am empty.