Last night you were stable. You opened yourself up in ways I didn’t know was possible, in ways that made me marvel in awe at the heightened sense of your vulnerability. You mumbled whimsical thoughts about the books you read and of Cartesian planes and fourth dimensions, and Chomsky and Dostoevsky as if they were your old friends. You told me about your past so voluntarily; your nakedness so willing, so wanting of someone to look into your soul and partake in the misery with you.
“Don’t mind me, I’m mumbling,” you said, your eyes shying away from me for one second, folding into yourself as much as your lean body would allow, the hump in your shoulder growing. My eyes did not stray; it stayed, focused unto the spot I knew your eyes would land back on – and I was right, there you are, once again, locking eyes with me, begging me to listen, so I did.
I am but a vessel in which you see self-destruction in stasis; a dim light of hope you carry with you at your darkest, the phone clutched in your hand, enfolded close to your chest, your breathing fast and panicked, anxiety your constant sleeping companion. You call me when you are feeling better, not when you’re lost in the fog of your medication’s doing, not when you’re so sad you forget what you did yesterday, what you were supposed to do today, which is anything else but going to a hardware store and buying a coil of rope.
You pry me to talk about myself, and when I do, you interrupt, worriedly, and repeat, “I thought you were doing okay,” and I do everything else but carve out the truth in front of you – that we seek each other’s companionship only at our best, never at our worst, that while your unhappiness can be seen through the way your fingers tremble while clutching at your coffee, at your ever rounding shoulders, at the books you can’t finish, my unhappiness is sketched into my skin, that this is what we share in common above everyone else – unhappiness at its core, inseparable unhappiness, escapism so badly desired that we’re grateful for seconds of it, because it’s our every day that weighs us.
They tell us that to be human is to struggle, because it’s the struggle that makes us stronger, more resilient. You have eight more years of struggle past me. You remind me of the defeat and panic waiting for me at the edge of my years. I remind you of your youth – self-destruction in stasis, just sleeping.
We are perfect for each other; misery loves company. I’m the only person you can turn to and say, “I’ve forgotten the faces of our friends,” and I recount them for you, in as much detail as possible, to help you remember what you tried so hard to forget. You’re the only person I can turn to and say, “I buried three pairs of razors outside of my window,” and not have to elaborate, not have to expand, just a warm touch from your shivering, worn hand that says, “I understand.”