I never expected to have the kind of life they put on Christmas cards. I knew there were times ahead as dark as the ones already gone. I knew I would not suddenly glide through life, as if on ice skates in some soda commercial. I’m the kind to bump, and fall. I knew I’d have many, many bruises to come. But I wanted them. I want them now. I want the stain under my skin that says things are alive and warm in here, and parts can die, but the rest of you lives on. I’m even jealous of paper cuts now, of all the sharp, surprising stings. The way every nerve jumps to your surface, the protest of it. The way that when you hurt, it means you are alive.
I’m not going to make it.
Time is its own slowing beat right now. My life before is being lived again, and the life ahead, the one I haven’t had a chance to reach yet, that’s playing for me too. I see myself two years from now, five, ten, twenty-seven. I’m not even old by then, by the time I’ve accumulated all that extra living. But there are entire lives I’ve lived to get there. A kaleidoscope of people and feelings and mistakes and love. I see it all ahead of me, and I know I am not going to get to live it.
I am already dead, perhaps, in the way that parts of you die first, before the rest of you catches up. I can’t find any rope to hold onto, anything to pull myself along, to get myself back into my body. The body, it keeps the score. It knows and wins or loses without you ever really getting to say. That man has killed my body. I am untouched in other places, but my body is now splayed out on the rocks, and he has gone, and soon there will be a lonely girl who looks down and out across at me. I see her coming or see her already here and she’s sadder than I’ve ever been, because all of her sorrow is simmering still. It hasn’t boiled over and scalded her life, so she can’t say for sure just what it is that happened to her.
I am about to happen to her.
~ Alice, Into the After