I’ve cried until my eyes are burning and swollen.
I don’t write when I’m happy. I don’t write when the sunlight makes circles around my baby boy’s curly crown like a halo, or when my oldest laughs from deep in his chest, like some music the entire earth comes alive for – I don’t write about it. I try to feel it when it happens, I hope to catch some of the magic that tumbles from the mouths of my children, and I warm my ice cold hands by the light that bursts forth from their existence.
This is when I write the things that I know no one wants to read anymore. In my mind everything is burning. Burning, burning, burning down. Days filled with light and joy are always followed by the darkness. I claw at my memories, begging them to leave me alone but never leave. Never, ever leave.
I’m the age my brother was when he died, more or less. Are we doing this again? Don’t you have anything else to say? Don’t you have anything else to write about? Of course I do. I choose this, because this is my Never.
I see us in my mind, me as I am now, and him as a teenager. Sixteen. He was sixteen. Standing at the door, ready to go in. Ready to scare everyone, the event that calls him home. The one where he threatens to kill him. The story we’ll hear over and over again as it’s told to strangers around our dinner table. Like entertainment. The story that makes anger bleed out of my skin like oil. Light a match. I look at my brother while he is young, in my mind, on the doorstep. I hold his chin in my hand. Let’s burn it to the fucking ground, I say. We break everything. We scream until we have no voices left, our tears burning our skin, our words never swallowed up, never shoved back in, a blazing fire that can never be extinguished. We take all the younger versions of ourselves outside, out into the sunlight where it’s safe. And warm. No one gets hurt. The memories simply never happen. They disappear. That day never happens. All the days that followed it are gone. He lives. I live. The end.