This afternoon it rained, and with that rain fell loneliness. And that loneliness fell on me and it seeped into my skin while I stood there and watched. I didn’t move. I didn’t say a word. It was almost as if the stillness would somehow save me. It didn’t though. The rain wasn’t washing away the sadness and tears like it does in the songs you hear on the radio. The rain was the sadness and each tear drop held what seemed like a piece of everyone I love. A portion of loneliness that I wanted to take away from them. My body drinks up the rain as though it has seen drought and I hold out my arm because somehow it’s a comfort to watch. Like a needle etching a tattoo over my scars, it paints a picture of someone I used to know so well but who disappeared without a trace. I try to make Joni Mitchell’s haunting voice take me further back. Back to a time where different faces, different minds, different hands assaulted my barely adult heart, because ‘back then’ doesn’t hurt me anymore. I feel a twang of nostalgia for those distant memories, but mostly indifference. The indifference feels like a land declaring peace. A land that none of us will know. At least not in this lifetime. When you disappeared, I was left stranded in a field of live mines that I had put there myself but couldn’t quite recall exactly where. Was I making myself dodge my own bullets, or was I telling myself that I had once had a chance to keep things in line but messed up again? A stale pot of land mine soup that I force myself to drink. With each cold mouthful I feel the bitter lumps slide down my throat. Each mine slowly makes its way inside me, and explodes inside my stomach. My stomach becomes thin like a perforated sack, but I know it won’t completely give way until I feel every last one of those bastard mines go off inside me. I punish myself for not being the person I should have been or the person you wanted me to be. I punish myself for knowing that you weren’t the person I wanted you to be either but I made myself believe you were for the want of safety and a place to call home. I punish myself for the crimes that I didn’t commit, but may as well have. Your eyes were often hollow and your callous demeanour frightened me, broke me, and brought me to my knees. You need not be concerned about being painted in a terrible light because I’ve tarred myself with the same brush. You picture me standing strong amongst my formidable army of thousands, but my army is nothing more than a hundred hollow knights mounted on horses that are already dead. They become my enemies as one by one they topple to the ground in a race to be the first ones to hear my final breath. A parting gift from you.
By Monique Potter (Illustration by Saadah Kent)