by Lisa Healy

I will begin in the middle of the calm chaos when I’m pulled away from the danger, as if I haven’t already witnessed the end of the world.

No screaming, no panic, just a quiet recognition of this new life I now inhabit, alone and darker than ever, knowing you took something from me the moment you decided to take everything from yourself.

Unexpected fever wraps me up and I’m consumed by terror like never before.

Total strangers infect our home with their presence, dissecting your motives like it matters. Their questions skirt past me like I’m secondary to this new nightmare. I sit, resentful and plug myself into a separate reality while they formalise everything and place us in a neat pile.

At some point I cross the line into inconvenience. So I drift around, a ghost in my own home. I live through a veil of distance and life becomes intangible. I discuss you without speaking and I’m answered by those who try and comfort me in the night.

When in my dreams you dominate with our overbearing presence, your yellowed pallor and unrecognisable form, I still long to see you as you used to be. It’s never quite perfect, never quite you.

I seem to only dream of the dark.

I battle the space with what I’m left with; a disquieting familiarity that settles inside, the knowledge that things are not safe, they never were, they never will be.

And maybe I can hold on to a little bit of hope, knowing your mind was stirred up with intoxication and confusion, or maybe that makes it worse.

So I throw myself further inside, warped into neurosis and insecurities that will follow me for a lifetime.

Your own mind destroyed by the very thing given to make it brighter. There’s too many people to blame, but you and I are the worst. When I look in the mirror I see only the brand of a murderer. The guilt is suffocating and who knew it could weigh so heavily on one person for so long? It will stain everything I do from this moment forward and remind me why I don’t deserve to be free of it.

While I spend the days drowning, I’m acutely aware of hands trying to pull me out, but I fight them, knowing that it’s too soon and I’m not ready. I won’t be ready for a long time.

In eight years I haven’t stopped thinking, but I have wished to. Have wished that you would disappear, like you never existed. I don’t want to live in a world without you, yet you leave me no choice. When my on-going sadness is questioned, I feel like laughing. There’s no world I could be a part of you without you in it and feel whole.

And now I’m terminally empty and devoid of any emotion except for disappointment.

Soon the house will fill with dust and cobwebs from disinterest and the passion you poured into it will seep out as slowly as you did. There will be no reminders of who you were or why you mattered. Nobody can bear to think of it. You tore apart your own creation with your bare hands and people still expect us to honour you.

It took a few moments for you to leave.

It will take a lifetime for me to return.

© Lisa Healy