Maybe the problem, though, is finding the right words to describe the way I feel. It's nothing I can explain, nothing heartbreaking or poetic, nothing beautiful or inspiring it's a dull ache, a heavy, constant weight upon my chest, constricting the beat of my heart, the rise and fall of my rest. It lingers, concealing itself behind eyes of glass in the sunlight, and emerges at night, when I have nothing but my own mind to keep me company. It is cruel, it is merciless; unforgiving. I breathe heavily, thinking maybe the weight will release itself with a sigh, escape along with the deep exhalation of contaminated air but no, it is ivy through my ribcage, it is ice lining my veins. The darkness of my room swallows me, the warmth of my blanket comforts me, and yet it remains the deep, heavy pain that hangs in my breath, that lurks in the small corners of my heart that have long been forgotten, and reminds me that depression, no, it never really goes away.
Sometimes the words come so easily, like the unconscious flow of breath or blinking of eyes, the tossing and turning in the deepest of sleep, the unwavering pulse of my weak heart, but sometimes, they do not. They are often like blades in my throat, stiffening of my fingers and dulling of my mind, filling the lining of my chest with pictures and emotion and ideas that have not yet found their words, until the red begins to leak upon the white of my ribcage, seeping through my body, and I know that the time has come. These things they bring about their own words, as though they were already written and I am simply remembering. I am simply remembering that words are my air, my eyes, my sleep and my heart. Then, the blood stops running and these things are no longer there, no longer the river of conscious thought that forms the story.
It almost hurts sometimes, to know that I still haven't given up. It's as though I'm holding on to the arms of a child that is already lost, or nursing the wounds of a soldier who is already dead. Maybe that's what it's like to be lost though to hold onto everything that once made you feel alive, even when you can't justify your reasons for doing so. It's cold, here, in the winter, and it reminds me of the way you used to shiver; your leg hair standing on end, tiny little teeth chattering deep into the night, breath staggered and slow. It reminds me of the nights, back when we were teenagers, that we'd spend drunk under the moon or walking the city, me in my heels and you in your peacoat, pretending that the world was ours. Little did we know, it was.
Sometimes, at night, I can't help but think about the things you used to tell me. Late at night, in old, weathered couches left outside and yellowed from an Australian summer, you explained to me how big the universe really was. You told me that some stars don't even exist anymore; that all we see is their light travelling through vast space after they have burned out and become the darkness that surrounds other stars. Sometimes I feel like that - feel like an illusory light floating through a space that could never end. I wondered what it would feel like to see a star disappear, to witness the last moments of something's existence.
Sometimes you look at her like you really, truly love her. I wonder if you do. I wonder if the bruises on her skin are lightened by your touch, if the sound of her breath at night makes her eyelids flutter. Your hands are on her waist, and across the classroom I watch you. I am tired of this anger, this screaming, these hands pulling apart my ribs from this inside, as though one day they will finally crack and I will fall to the ground, tangled in this web of love for your creased palms and your handwriting and your eyelashes.
There are certain things that sometimes, I can't help but think I enjoy remembering about you, certain episodes I enjoy reliving. For a while, I took comfort in them, found solace in knowing you still existed somewhere. These days though, it's not like that. I cannot sigh with humble relief and escape to you, because you have become something that I want to move on from. But no, just like you were, you are there one minute, and then you simply slip away, and are gone the next.
I like to remember you the way you were when you were young and happy and innocent, and had this smile that told the story of a boy who had the whole world waiting at his fingertips. You never smile like that anymore, but I think I can catch glimpses of that boy sometimes in your eyes. You'd hate that. You would have laughed at me for saying that, I know it. You never understood words, or how people could use them in ways different to their dictionary meaning. I tried explaining it to you, metaphors and all the other flowery things in the world of literature, but your mind was made up of numbers, theories and formulas and there was no room for the abstract.
You had stood in the doorway, damp light falling across your face, black hoodie falling from your shoulders. I sat across the smoke filled room, back against the wall, head gently pressed to my shoulder. I was not listening to you, because you were yelling. You were screaming, in fact, pressing your hands against the walls, against the door, pressing them even harder against your own skin. I suppose I just imagined you had drunk a little bit too much, or something. I didn't care. All I could hear was something about the ivy turning red meant the cold was coming and you couldn't deal with that. And then, silence. For a moment, it was peaceful. Then I heard you hit the floor, your whole body weight collapsing in on itself, eyes closing to the world. It felt almost like I was breathing steam; as if I had to pull my lungs apart and push them closed again just to breathe.
Later that night, you sat in a bathtub of water, pale red with your own blood, knees curled to your chest, head resting atop them. My bare knees were bruised blue and red against the cold tiles of the ground, but I hadn't moved for an hour. I didn't understand, and for four months afterwards I begged you to explain, but by the time you did, it was a little too late. I can still see you; you bird with a broken wing, and the way you looked up at me that night from the settling water of the bath, with your milky skin stretched thin over bones. Your eyes, a beautiful cloudy brown, looked at me through the white light of that bathroom and you didn't have to cry, because you knew I already understood. Blood was drying underneath your nose, and your fingernails were so bitten down that they too, had begun to bleed.
Sometimes I wonder why I stayed with you that night. It was strange, to wake up and feel the warmth of your chest pressed against my back, your arms pulling me towards you as though you were afraid you'd lose me in the night. It felt so right, to close my eyes and know that you were there. All I know is what it feels like to have lost you, and to remember the feeling of loving you was strange. It was so strange.
I like to write you letters because they help me figure out the way I feel about you. Sometimes, I don't even understand it. You make me lose control of myself, but in a way that is subtle and quiet and peaceful. I feel as though I'm giving you the reigns to my life, placing my hand in yours and knowing you could lead my anywhere in the world. I will probably be without you again one day, and the thought of that makes me ill. I don't know what my heart would do if it wasn't loving you, because I can't remember what it felt like before I did. I can only remember loving you, first beautifully, then painfully, and then hesitantly. There is only you. And that worries me, because I can't help but think that these things never last forever, and when this is gone again, and I will no longer be able to watch you from afar in the classrooms at school. What will become of me then? When you have disappeared so far into the past that I forget your smile and your quiet laugh and your smell, what will I do? I don't understand feeling like this. I am not used to needing you.
When I look at you, I see my future and I see my past. I see everything that I have ever loved and hated about myself. I see the only person in the world who I would give myself up for. I see a person who is worth everything I am and will ever be. And maybe you will not last forever, but if I would rather have swam in the ocean rather than have just seen it.