[Content Warning: suicide]
The rain distorts the Gothenburg streets through my window, and makes its way into the room creak by creak. You still itch. I have put out a pot on the floor to catch the drops. It is 1993 and I believe this is the turning point of my life. Everything up to this point will be the things I look back to, the things I talk about in interviews, the character growth I need. I cope by telling myself a story. I have just been given a cell phone and I am contactable anywhere, anytime. It rings in the middle of the night to tell me you’re sorry, but there’s about to be an accident I can’t talk you out of. I sell it to make rent, it is not enough.
I still miss you when the train hits Yusif. I still write you letters. I date that one 1996, five days after impact. I talk to Maria on a rooftop and I mention you for the first time. She hugs me and tells me I have some resolve. All the blood in my arms and legs disagree and my body locks up, I can’t move. Maria and I watch the stars until we fall asleep and get arrested. A hundred days after impact I freeze up again, and every muscle that can cramp, cramps. I fall into someone and they are first insulted, then horrified. The hospital says there is nothing wrong with me.
It is 1999 and we are shooting fireworks out of bottles. Something goes wrong and a bottle explodes. There is silence in the night, above the explosions in the sky and the clatter of glass, and I try to work out how many days exactly it has been. I have stopped writing you letters and stopped drawing lines on my wall as the first thing I do in the morning. No-one else is harmed, people collapse into giggles and I just don’t mention the glass stuck in me. I am silent for the rest of the night.
The sun shines on a nunnery just outside Oslo. I look for clouds and finish the last water from my plastic bottle; I ask the first habit I see if confessions are just a catholic thing or if I can tell her something. She nods and says of course, sit down. Afterwards, she tells me I have to have resolve. I look up old abandoned railway tracks and sleep on them. Sometimes I take photos people pay for.
Three months after Contact, I am visited by a Dutchthing. I tell it I don’t speak its tongue and it changes into an Englishthing. I didn’t know they could do that. It asks me questions, writes my answers down just like I would. Its big bulby head indicates it is a type-4 of them, and I tell it about the classification. It emits a sound like giggles would sound like, if you played them backwards underwater. Contact isn’t the important part. I still get paid for the image of the bolt of lightning. It has been fifteen months and eight days since the last tragedy. I still count like that. It is 2004 and large sacks of pus are appearing in the countryside, floating inexplicably.
I gasp after air. My chest is compressed. I can feel my blood stop moving and I run only on electricity. I fall out of bed and stare up at my ceiling, which is being removed by a police helicopter. Megaphones are asking me to not move and drop any weapons. I do as the megaphones say. The Englishthing still visits me sometimes. They outlaw large sacks of pus. I tell the police I don’t have any on me. I call the officer a bitch. He beats something out of me, I don’t know what.
I go to bars, I get into fights. I get alcohol in my system, I have this passive-aggressive way of talking, I have resolve. The nunnery I have photos of ceases to exist. A road of flame passes through it without warning. We are segmenting. You got to have resolve. It is 2009 and we are having the election early. I don’t vote.
You told me once that we would make it through – what? There was a time period. It is finally slipping from my memory. I admit to my therapist that I am angry at you. This is a good step, she says. I tell her to pick up the letter knife and cut my throat; she makes a note of it in her writing pad but nothing more.
Anathema, I say. I don’t look at the calendar, I don’t count the time. I didn’t do drugs. I never even smoked cigarettes. I never got drunk, I had better ways of letting off steam. I didn’t submit. I didn’t self-harm. That was anathema. I ran out of resolve, I found a path of least resistance. I came to a fork in the road and laid down, in the tracks. My blood has turned to ink and my body is no longer pristine, they say. All this was anathema. I lied about you. I’m not angry, I am envious. I talk about yesterday in interviews, not twenty years ago. I reach for the whole bottle of sleeping pills.