You were eighteen when you tried to die.
Although you may deny it – you tried, I know.
Yes, had reached that point where I could hardly write about you, our stares close to repulsion, but seeing nothing. Sometimes there is an edge I am convinced you are close to. I write to keep you from it – the little black and white hatchets composing print but also a more significant structure.
Perhaps you did not exist at all before i wrote this – how do I know? Perhaps I am not even capable of truly knowing the four walls which surround me, their white effrontery almost horrific in with blankness. I have carved bloodshot into them using a red biro – red and oily, the same sick ink that would coarse a tick, cross, tick through our childhood learning.
I always had more crosses. I envisage you had more ticks.
I wonder how you sit now – is it a book or or a laptop over your knee, straddling your frame like a dead bird? I know more of you than you think. At your side, or on the floor with the various detritus of your day, there might be a cup, a crumpled note, an apple core. You look fitting amongst these fabrications, slightly hunched – the necessary bodily gesture for the act of reading.
I never was one to fit in – that is why I am here, writing. There are a few hundred, perhaps a thousand of us like this.
You are reading, pretending to concentrate. Sometimes you do strange things with your hands you are not fully aware of – perhaps part of the grand rehearsal for the day you will write back to me. You have sipped at a drink until you felt the conviction you could breathe air again, and do so, occasionally glancing away from the words in the search for something more relevant, occasionally becoming idle and failing to interpret a sentence as meaning anything at all.
I have known your eyes for a long time – they are the same eyes that have looked, paralysed into mine, even just for the space of a few seconds. I wonder if you remember – for the days are long now, and occasionally you feel as if your eyelids are dredged with silt, a barely perceptible weight and becoming heavier. Last night’s sleep was somehow insufficient – it comforts me that we have that in common. There are few comforts here – white walls and yes, the written word – but only my own. The bones of my wrists look greased like hinges against the skin, writing disjointed, whilst you scroll the page with as little as a single finger. You are not fully aware of your grace, just as you are not fully aware of who I am.
There was always such a difference between you and I.
I wish I was closer to you now. I have said paradoxical three word statement, though you may not have heard me, but I did. It is typical I regress to defending myself, though, it could be the case that you reciprocated. Sometimes I shed a tear for the unfairness – thick salt droplets turning my face to crepe, leaf-like as if defenceless in air – for I know you love others. I know you love others even if you have to extract it from yourself with a medicinal kind of dedication; still so you attempt.
You run a hand close to your scalp – an almost experimental movement, as if suddenly aware of your own skin. It approaches you in moments, sometimes when your thoughts wander and align the walls with their little lights which sometimes intensify themselves before your eyes before you sleep. I see them too, albeit briefly.
You may perceive this as digressing – you hold a half-wish somewhere within you that this was a book, even for the times you hate reading, so you can fold the pages to the front and read a single name. But there is no need. You know who I am.
You are an unexplainable distance away, and so am I.
But I know we are both reading.
I know when you were eighteen you tried to die.