Crimson diamonds sparkle down my arm.
A nervous breakdown, pointing and staring
One last time, I quickly promise myself.
A letter of termination, Mother’s disappointed eyes
My hands are shaking, memories flooding.
A coffee date, secrets spilling on the floor
Familiar excitement covers my body like a blanket.
I am so alone in this
This I deserve.
This I need.
One hit and it’s enough to set me on fire. Euphoria consumes my veins. It doesn’t take very long. It never does.
I can feel the weight of the world slowly slip away and disappear through the cracks. Clicking keyboards. Screaming cathedrals. Unpaid bills. His ghost.
It crawls further and further down my spine until I am floating, levitating. I am free.
The walls around me begin to shake and break away, and this old rotten carpet turns into fresh spring grass, forming an endless pasture. The sky dazzles and a warm, welcoming breeze brushes past my auburn hair. Everything is so beautiful, so perfectly blissful.
The trees themselves begin to dance and grow new leaves, a rainbow of color. Birds sing elegantly to one another, so in love. I look at my hands and they are clean, my arms are bare. I see a nearby pond with couples walking hand in hand and small children running to their mothers, eager to be held. Laughter echoes through my ears and suddenly becomes contagious. I wipe tears of happiness from my eyes and faintly see a figure in the distance, slowly emerging closer and closer. Although I cannot make out their identity, I feel a sense of comfort. I feel protected and beautiful.
I float towards this being and am suddenly pulled under its force, into its arms. I beg my eyes to focus and as they do I begin to make out the familiar soft, wavy hair. Dark chocolate eyes and unforgettable lips. It’s him. He has come back for me. His scent consumes me. He moves his lips and begins to utter delicate words of reassurance, but I cannot make them out. I open my mouth to speak, but I am left breathless. His face appears puzzled and I scream at the top of my lungs, frantic, but he still cannot understand me. Now that I think about it, he probably never did.
I look up at him once more, but the corners of his mouth suddenly begin to drop and mush into his other features. His eyes, oh those wondrous eyes, blur and his face suddenly washes away, and I am left alone. The damp grass surrounding me begins to wither and break, along with the world around me.
I am awoken by the faint smell of stale coffee, a dim light and shrieks of desperation. My body is trembling and my stomach is burning. I rub my groggy, plastered eyes and force them to see. I see a pair of kind eyes, but they do not belong to him. He is gone. Instead these heavy eyes belong to a paramedic who swiftly bandages me up and places my frail body onto a stretcher headed to the hospital. However even he cannot save me, I am far beyond repair. See, I lost everything the day he abandoned my life, his battle with influenza was lost along with the larger part of my heart. I grew apart from Mother, Jayden, Julie and the boys and, well, everyone else for that matter. That’s when I turned to china white. On occasion, it took me back to him. It fixed my shattered world.
Seconds later, my mother barges franticly through the doors. She runs to me, inhaling my pain. Tears spilling down her face, she cradles my head in her arms. “I’m here”, she promises, “It’s over”. I tilt my head to the side and notice my brother, along with my nephews and tears fill my eyes. “It’s time for this to end”, she says.
Several grueling tests later, I am discharged from the hospital. I am in need of supervision, or so the doctor said, as there was speculation I had tried to end my own life. I won’t deny the thought had crossed my mind. The silent drive home is enough to break what’s left of my heart.
Walking through my mother’s front door, I notice so many details left unchanged in her house. The same chipped picture frames and stale scent of lilies. My mother leads me to the guest room. “I have something for you,” she whispers. I hold my breath as she hands me a tiny USB chip. I quickly insert it into my mother’s laptop. My heart, pounding endlessly, drops the second I see his face. My mother informs me he had left it in her possession and it was to be watched at my darkest moment.
My dear Brooke, he begins. Amidst his exhaustion, he is gorgeous. My body begins to tremble from his words, his eyes. A sober, steady tremble. He knew all along he wasn’t going to make it. He swears his love for me is never ending, and encourages me to take care of Mother and help out with the boys. It is short, sweet, and to the point. But what changes me most are his words of wisdom. He tells me to not let work become my number one priority, as God, family and friends, should occupy that space. He tells me no matter what I am feeling to not be afraid of sharing it with those I love, as they are placed in my life for a reason: to listen. He tells me my sole addiction should be the constant search of new ways to live my life to the fullest. And finally, he tells me, happiness is a choice.
They say the only people in this world who understand how to live life to the fullest are those who are dying. Maybe this is true.
It finally becomes clear. I choose to live. I choose happiness.