Without my permission

Wednesday April 17th, 2013

Today is my last day. Of what? Of being alive? Of being in this world? Not exactly, because I’m here still, in a way. I can see everything and feel everything, although I’ve been trying to get that right, because it’s not exactly feeling, is it? It’s not the same as wrapping your fingers around a warm coffee mug, or flipping the pillow to the cold side, of finding the cool relief on your cheek, before you go back to sleep. It’s not that. It’s not immediate and ephemeral and lost to the next sensation just as you start to feel the first.

It’s something more complete. Something less connected to space and time. A kind of knowing, more than feeling. Sort of how you can swim under water and through it and across its surface all at the same time. Immersed. Perhaps that’s a better word for the way I experience the world now.

I’m here still, in a way. I am immersed.

At any rate, we’ve reached that date. We’ve come to today. I want to tell you about it, because they keep getting it wrong. The way people always get it wrong when they speak for you. When they tell your story.

My story, the one I lived.

Today is my last day. Today is the last day I lived my story. The last day I lived. There was an I, and it was me, and I was at the centre of my story, until someone else decided to take over. Until that man wrote my last pages. Without my permission.

You think you are the centre, that if you hold on tight enough, even when things try to pull you away, you’ll make it. But then someone enters the space you have created for yourself, they take up all the room, and suddenly you’re pushed right out of your skin.

It’s their story now.

There was an I, and now there is a he, a him, a his.

Today is my last day, Elliot. The last day of my story.

~ Alice, Into the After

On the Rocks

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Most everybody knows

People die every day. In minutes. Seconds. The closing and re-opening of an eye, and the world changes direction, spins you or him or her away. Out into the nothing or everything, and not here. Not here ever again.

In New York alone, 150 lights go out from one midnight to the next. Cancer, cars, trains, swimming pools. A bottle of pills, or a fall the wrong way. There is some kind of sorrow every second.

Back in the 90’s, there were up to six murders a day. A decade later, and that number dropped down to two. Now, sometimes a whole week goes by without someone dying at another person’s hand. Still, it happens. Strangers, and vigilantes, and lovers with twisted hearts. More often than not, the twisted hearts. Turns out most everybody knows the person who kills them. A fact we close our eyes to when we do our choosing.

Did you know the person who took your life? The one who took your name, and your story, the one who left your body for me to find?

Are we any safer, Jane, with our lit streets and windows barred? Or are we only ever one opened door away from the dark?

I don’t know who to be afraid of, here.

Grand Central, New York