Out of the Cigarette Smoke

As I lay on the carpet after the cigarette touched my lips, I felt an energy surge through me. This energy surge reminded me that it was another day and that everything would continue moving, but that I would be okay. How can something that can kill me provide so much comfort? 

Out of all the scars that life has left inside me, one of my biggest handicaps is my inability to let go. This handicap stops the giggle from escaping my lips. Even words stay trapped inside my brain. Sometimes I wish I had a machine that would read my thoughts and say them for me. 

I bite the water bottle cap because it has a rough texture. I listen to the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack because it has the mellowest sounds. 

I’m not sure about what I want. Some days are better than others. There are always days when I wake up and I know that I won’t be doing anything except crying. 

I work at the concession stand of the movie theater. The popcorn must always keep popping unless it starts to fall from overflow. 

Life seems to hold me down but I really want to fly. Every piece of writing is supposed to have some purpose but this one is just to capture how it feels to smoke a cigarette. Where is the cigarette scene? There is only puff and huff. I become this wolf who tries to blow down her lungs. 

I am also this round object with pretty features. I suppose the feminists would say that I shouldn’t call myself an object. But I will like to declare that the body is only a tool that we use to remain alive until the end of our lives.

I believe in God but I have a doubt in people. I’m unsure of how to build my relationship with God while still remaining within myself. I am my biggest comfort. 

To be honest, as people say to emphasize an obvious statement, the number of people that I trust has dwindled down immensely. If I could graph the phenomenon I would begin with a stable two which grew and then sunk; an exponential phenomenon which resembles the human’s population growth.  

I would love to close this free-thought with the image of a flower but flowers can only contain my interest for a brief second and then they are just colors in a world that is full of images. 

 

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Where is my Mind?

I was once depressed and I will not pretend to be fully okay. There are days when darkness comes to play with my head. But I have recovered in some ways. What is the experience of feeling depressed? People assume that depression is sadness. But depression is waking up neither glad nor sad. It is a disinterest that rots life away. This is my interpretation of how depression looks and feels, though only one who holds a similar internal mirror may find my own experience as a small replica:

Every day I try to stand, only to feel a pressure weigh me down. I attempt to lighten this pressure with foreign substances. The sleep never comes on its own…

The clock marks night and the eyes on the face remain close but the mind refuses to shut off; it races and tortures. The eyes open and find darkness. There is no comfort streaming from the television illumination. The channel is switched and soft musical notes fill the room. They serve to comfort until a nightmare shocks the body awake. The pain, the agony consumes, and there on the corner lies salvation: The metal on the skin, stroking, releasing relief to the overactive brain. Redness produced in the innocent outer covering. Cells flying off and new ones found. Thin gossamer produced where there once lay leather. The tears refuse to come down. The pain does not dissipate. The body violated lies worthless. And sleep will not come. The phone lies on the bedside table. It holds loneliness, vile lies in the form of text messages: “I love you”. And a promise for a new day: ” See you tomorrow.”

Is tomorrow an option? Tomorrow is not a promise but a heavy weight. So many tomorrows and no promise of salvation. Forget tomorrow and instead focus on the mirror. Eyes look back red and glazed. The skin around those eyes looks no different. Red with the thread of more tears that made a home and sliced the delicate façade away. Heart stop. Stop. Beating. Only those thoughts race through the head.

A shard hits the soul as the memory of the day endangers to trap the mind in perpetual agony. The gray halls threaten to chill the body yet color alone could hide the decaying body. Skin clinging to bone, losing mass. The mouth longing to break no bread. The stomach requiring no churning. The day was flying away.

An exam in biology, opening the mouth to release musical notes, and then suddenly down the hallway two figures. One stops and moves away. The other continues to move closer finding the lips around the tear streaked face. Hands stroke away some pain. But the eyes of this comfort show a lie. Red eyes look around to see the other moving body. The body is confident, tiger-like, threatening the peace. The truth Is known but blurred by love. Suddenly the arm cannot stay still, finds the skull of the dear lips that just pretended to love, and smashes the skull onto a metal container. Your hand held another’s, the lips on the blotched face say. The other figure smiles, sees the crazy destruction and walks away.

The pain becomes radiating as the figures move away. The pain hits the stomach first. It is an empty feeling that moves towards the lungs and squeezes their capacity away. Breath becomes difficult, the heart replies to the problem by quickening its pace. The pace forces less air to stay inside and the body curves inward holding on to the little life left.

A bell rings signaling another end. With little power the body gets up and the legs manage to run. Cars come, the light is green but the legs refuse to stop. A honk, an adrenaline rush, no sleep, no peace; the body Is home. The bed lays untouched. The pink curtains shield the sun.

Salvation comes in the shade of gray. Blood trickles and suddenly the heart slows, the lungs relax: “everything will be okay,” the pain on the arm sings. Red trickles in drops, iron smells so sweetly and tissues soak up the mess. The bed invites and the body moves closer finding serenity for: ten, nine, eight, seven, six…three, two, One; a nightmare shocks the body awake. Hours later and the body is still awake. Torture is living. Hell holds silence. Another day. The sun once again invites the body to play pretend. When life is hell, is there any peace, is there any home? Only time knows but it serves to torture.

 

Write about something ugly–war, fear, hate, or cruelty–but find the beauty (silver lining) in it.

To see human beings in agony, to see them covered in blood and to hear their death groans, makes people humble. It makes their spirits delicate, bright, peaceful. It’s never at such times that we become cruel or bloodthirsty. No, it’s on a beautiful spring afternoon like this that people suddenly become cruel. It’s at a moment like this, don’t you think, while one’s vaguely watching the sun as it peeps through the leaves of the trees above a well-mown lawn? Every possible nightmare in the world, every possible nightmare in history, has come into being like this.

Yukio Mishima, “The Temple of the Golden Pavilion”

 

 

There are only remnants of atrocities. The human race is one of suffering; We suffer but we also inflict suffering. Today begins tomorrow. My eyes refuse to close, my heart won’t stop accelerating, and the images won’t stop replaying. What if we had stayed home? 

“Jim let’s go!” I looked up from my bed to the small woman shouting my name. It was time to once again go to the market. How I hated going to the market. I got up and ripped open the closet door, found a t-shirt and a pair of patched up jeans and threw them on. Mom gave me the usual bags of merchandise to carry. As I walk out of the front door, one of my classmates walks by the house. I keep my head down hoping that he won’t mention that he saw me to my other classmates. I hear my name but pretend to be too occupied with the floor to answer. 

We walk several miles, the bags begin to feel like 100 pounds but I cannot complain; mother is carrying the equivalent. We wait in silence. There are some boys I know playing soccer. My feet ache to pass the ball from one foot to the next. Instead I grab the bags as the bus pulls up. I fling myself forward and find a seat, lean my head on the window, and clench as mother finds herself next to me. Why do I have to be stuck here? Why is life so terrible that I have to give up my Saturday to help mother sell clothing? Questions won’t stop forming in my head. I decide to close my eyes. 

I awake to a heavy blow to my head. I look around and see mother laying on the floor. The bus has somehow flipped several times. “Help me!” “My leg” There are screams everywhere. My head throbs but I jump to mother’s side. She is awake but she is bleeding. She has hurt the side of her stomach. ” Get me out.” I put my arm around her frame which is now humped over and walk out of the bus. The sun shines outside; it shines on the bus which seems to become smaller as people continue screaming. Mother sits outside the bus, her face seems far away, but her eyes speak of pain. 

I hold her and walk up the hill that the bus had flipped on. We stand in silence.

Six months Later

We stand in silence as the doctor tells mother that she has a cancerous tumor in her stomach. I clench my fists recognizing that I had once hated the small amount of time that I spent with mother. Suddenly Saturdays didn’t feel like wasted opportunities but memories of someone whose soul was being taken away from earthly life. 

Mother stands in her youth among twelve children.

She sits by a sewing machine day and night.

We eat cheap things.

Mother takes me with her to the market.

” I am hungry mother.”

“Wait son there is not enough money for breakfast yet.”

The boys outside play with the cars that they had gotten on Christmas.  

I am making the courses; I have no toy car.

Mother returns and brings me one.

Mother is hurt.

Mother is dying and I have no one left. 

I take mother to visit after visit.

She cannot afford expensive treatments.

Mother is dying and all that I can do is watch.

The cancer is a vine and it is overtaking the only person who loves me.

Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.

She has died. 

But with her death dies her pain. With her pain she has moved away from her burdens. She is still among us but she does not have to wait to provide. Mother in her beautiful struggle. She fought until the end.