Decomposition/Disconnection: A Short Story About Loss

Decomposition/Disconnection: A Short Story About Loss

“There’s no grace to it, like so many love to say. To wisen is to rot. Your beauty peaks in youth, and only collapses in on itself the longer you last.”

Strange, I think. When he was here I never took the time to properly study his face, to really remember the details of every angle and feature. Oh, that’s quite normal, somebody tells me in a vain attempt to bring comfort. To take something for granted is normal. Utterly, obnoxiously, normal.

~

I fumble with my cigarette, blushing into the cavernous expanse of my room. The same as a first date, too nervous to eat with any sort of gusto for fear of appearing sloppy and boorish. Social anxieties are weird like that, even privately inarticulate moments becoming drawn out self-interrogations in dimly lit rooms with black walls and shoddy AC.

My eyes scan the room, looking for that silent, ghostly audience. The one I can feel studying every move and blunder. As if I’m trapped in some sort of hellish, poorly written sitcom. Every other station is static.

What a glum place, this room I find myself in most every day. Blinds drawn, lights off aside from a single desk lamp, laundry overflowing, and bedsheets swirled into a makeshift nest. Every surface is scattered with an amalgamation of writing. Chaotic piles of papers and notepads like ancient burial mounds coat the surface of my desk, each adventure into their masses an archaeological dig of malformed ideas and half-hearted assignments. Crumbling towers of books dot the landscape, the compiled knowledge and imaginations of countless authors rising like the bleakest of mountains.

I should probably get out, go do something. This room has become more of an echo chamber than a home. My lips flatten out, tightening my cheeks as I tuck my cigarette back into its box, then that in turn back into my jacket pocket. I feel unbalanced as I stand, clumsily knocking into the chair. I sigh, taking a moment to silently hide my awkward motions, and then reach for my phone. How can all these things feel so intensely vibrant, yet so impossibly out of focus?

~

I scratched behind my ear, tired eyes waving listlessly over an assortment of cheap snacks and dyed drinks. Some vapid pop ballad, overused acoustic guitars and all, played too loudly over the convenience store’s fizzling speaker system. I didn’t particularly want anything I looked at, but I knew that I wanted something. Something to chew on, hoping that maybe needless mastication would somehow distract my mind.

“He’s such a poet!” the young woman next to me gushed, putting the full weight of her body into a romanticized swoon. I hadn’t noticed her beforehand, the outer world had melted away just long enough for her to drunkenly stumble into my periphery. She seemed to sway with the song overhead, but each motion was ungainly, different limbs jerking in different directions out of sync with the music as if each body part were unsure of itself and suspicious of its peers.

“Do you read poetry?” I asked, a single eyebrow raised, leaning my head tentatively into the conversation. Hands dug deeper into my pockets, body tensed awkwardly. I normally gave a terse nod and smile in situations like this, but it seemed as if my tongue had decided to work of its own accord. Bastard.

“Oh no, never. I’ve never quite seen the point,” she laughed as if to wave me off. As if it were my question, rather than her lackluster answer, that was soul crushingly absurd. I chewed the inside of my cheek, debating whether or not I should keep talking or just grab a random item and go pay.

“Well, how can you call this poetry if you don’t really care for poetry?” I questioned without really thinking about it. As soon as the words left my mouth I began mentally kicking myself over how snide and pretentious I felt. You’re fussing at a drunk girl’s taste in music in the middle of a convenience store. Classy.

“Everything is poetry!” she loudly proclaimed. I felt like her voice projected over the entire store, “and everyone is a poet!”

Not at all the answer, I was expecting. I suppose I should have been touched or amused by her girlish optimism, that hopeful twinkle in her eye should have charmed me despite its alcoholic origins. I never responded. I simply gave my typical smile, my typical nod, and hurriedly left the store. As far as I know she’s still giggling and flitting through the aisles. The fairy queen of the convenience store.

~

It was just before midnight, the streets choked with intoxicated revelry when I decided to duck into a bar. I kept thumbing the slight protuberance of the lock button on my phone as if some half-dreaming version of myself were about to text or call him. I knew I couldn’t do that anymore. I knew I’d never be able to hear his voice again, or even see a newly typed response. Even the most meager of interactions had been stripped away. One lifetime split into two, only to be cruelly subtracted back to one.

~

“Aging is nothing but the retraction of beauty,” the older woman began. Her eyes stayed low, as if trying to keep level with the rim of her glass.

“Why’s that?”

“There’s no grace to it, like so many love to say. To wisen is to rot. Your beauty peaks in youth, and only collapses in on itself the longer you last.”

“That’s a limiting view on the subject, don’t you think?” I asked, glancing down into my cigarette box as if to refill its contents through sheer will alone. My thumb absently flipped the box top back and forth.

“Limiting? Oh no, not at all. It’s a bit freeing actually,” she offered me a weak smile before knocking back the last of her whiskey. She closed her eyes for a moment to savour the roiling drink, her crow’s feet more apparent than before

“Free to accept the death of beauty?”

“Free to accept death itself. Once you’ve lost your beauty you’ve lost your identity, your face,” she uncrossed her legs and leaned forward for this, “Beauty is youth, youth is vigour. Once you’ve used up your vitality, you’ve used up your worth.”
I didn’t have a rebuttal to that, though I had already mentally upturned my nose, I remained silent. Maybe I figured I looked thoughtful, quiet contemplation as cheap character building. The older woman simply pursed her lips and tutted away at my silence, likely disappointed in yet another younger person who didn’t understand the great melancholy of life.

I wanted to stand and orate, to deliver a speech of Lenin-esque fervour and Morrissey poetics that would communicate my true knowledge of that great melancholy. Instead I wallowed in the disconnection.

~

“It was a French author who said that the meaning of life is whatever you’re doing that makes you not want to kill yourself.”

“So… videogames?”

“Yeah, pretty much.” I half shrugged and glanced over at my friend. A being of pure mousy innocence and incomprehensible charity. His stick straight blonde hair fell over his glasses as we walked. I couldn’t help but smirk at his offbeat answer to my pretentious musings.

Midnight had passed on by then, the city’s bloated form decompressing. Lungs resting momentarily before their next bated breath. That strange pause where the quiet dignity of the world reveals itself, if only to reassure those ambling souls awake long enough to appreciate it.

Cover Image Credit: rooms101.com

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One Year After..

A take on my experience dealing with the death of a sibling. 

          As a young impressionable girl, you always looked up to your older brother in many different aspects of life. Mostly, learning what you can and can’t get away with. An older brother is someone who gives you Indian burns on your arm until you scream but will take you out for an ice cream date afterward. He will teach you how to ride a dirt bike and take the blame when mom gets mad. An older brother is someone who was born with a main goal of protecting his little sister and loving her more than she could ever know. He teaches his little sister to not take sh*t from anyone and that it’s okay to be stronger than the boys she plays with on the playground; “because if they push, you better push back.” He teaches you to love sports because you grew up watching him play baseball. He prepares his little sister for pain, for the many heartbreaks he knows that she is going to have to live through. Your parents are there to keep you on a straightened arrow but your brother is there to make sure fun can be included in that plan. Unfortunately, what all of these lessons he relayed over the years don’t teach you, is how to live without him. 

It is impossible for others to understand what was going through your mind when you found out. One second you were sitting in your apartment, trying to get your already crazy life together and  then, at the blink of an eye, everything changes. Life as you knew it was broken. Anger, confusion, and sadness suffocate you until you completely black out and just stare, emotionless at the lights going by as you’re traveling down the highway to your childhood home that you shared with your brother who, you now realize is never coming home again.

 “Why did this have to happen?” is the never ending, never answered question that races through your head. I eventually learned you can’t ask why because it will absolutely tear your sanity to shreds. 

When you lose a sibling, you lose a piece of you. The biggest part of your childhood is gone and it’s hard to actually face the fact that you will never get to see this person again, hear their voice that one last time, see their smile again and at this point, you’re begging for one last Indian burn. Only being able to see him in your dreams is this uncontrollable feeling of constantly wondering if he is going to visit you tonight while you’re sleeping. He has become the angel you never knew you needed, until now. 

In your darkest hours is when he will show the most love and protection. 

When you walk down the street, you see someone that reminds you of your brother and for a second there’s a sense of hope that this entire mess was just a bad dream. But, then you must come to terms with the fact that this isn’t a dream, its your new reality. Your new reality will become more real with time and you’ll start to get back into a routine. As one year passes by, you notice your brother in your actions and through your words and that’s kind of scary because you know and can feel that he is smirking at you for making the same dumb mistakes that he did in the past.

Of course you wonder what it would be like to have never lost your big brother. To have never experienced such an immense loss that spins your world upside down. There’s not a day that goes by that you don’t think about him, but there is so much more to him than just his death and what has happened as a result of it. 

When the day that I had to burry my big brother came, I somehow muddled up enough strength and composure to read the poem that got me through his death in front of 2,000 people. The outpouring of love from his friends and my friends who drove over 2 hours to support me on this terrible day will never be forgotten or unappreciated. I didn’t quite know how to act or what to think. No one ever gave me a handbook on “What to do when your brother passes away while you’re in college.” I was given this poem by one of my brothers friends, who lost his older brother as well and this poem is truly is one of the most special things in the world to me. This poem was a light that was meant to lead me to where I am today. I would love to share it. 

If Tomorrow Starts Without Me…

Author: David Romano 

If tomorrow starts without me, and I’m not here to see,

If the sun should rise you find your eyes all filled with tears for me;

I wish so much you wouldn’t cry the way you did today,

While thinking of the many things we didn’t get to say.

I know how much you love me, as much as I love you

And each time that you think of me, I know you’ll miss me too.

But when tomorrow starts without me please try to understand,

That an angel came and called my name and took me by the hand.

He said my place was ready, in heaven far above

And that I’d have to leave behind all those I dearly love. 

But as I turned and walked away a tear fell from my eye.

For all my life I’d always thought, I didn’t want to die.

I had so much to live for, so much left yet to do.

It seemed almost impossible that I was leaving you.

I thought of all the yesterdays the good ones and the bad.

I thought of all the love we shared, and all the fun we had.

If I could relive yesterday, just even for a while,

I’d say goodbye and kiss you and maybe see you smile.

But then I fully realized that this could never be,

For emptiness and memories would take the place of me.

When I thought of worldly things I might miss come tomorrow

I thought of you and when I did my heart was filled with sorrow.

When I walked through heavens gates I felt so much at home.

God looked down and smiled at me from his great golden throne

He said, “This is eternity and all I’ve promised you”

Today your life on earth has passed but here life starts anew.

I promise no tomorrow, but today will always last

And since each day is the same there’s no longing for the past.

You have been so faithful so trusting and so true.

Though there were times you did some things you knew you shouldn’t do.

You have been forgiven and now at last you’re free.

So won’t you come and take my hand and share my life with me?

So when tomorrow starts with out me don’t think we’re far apart,

For every time you think of me, I’m right here in your heart.

If my brother never passed away, I’d probably still just be a girl selfishly enjoying college and making mistakes without a care in the world. Don’t get me wrong, I still do those things, but my outlook on the world has definitely changed. 

This whole situation as a whole sucks but it just forces you to become a stronger person. You become a different person after the death of your sibling and are eager to live life in honor of them. You’re eager to do things that you have never done before because you know you have an angel looking out for you. You become brave because your older brother embodied that characteristic. You become obsessed with bettering yourself because you now have a bigger reason to live.

Now, one year later, you live every single day to the fullest since you really don’t know when your last could be. Valuing relationships you never thought you needed to take a second to be thankful for, being closer with your parents because you aren’t the only one who lost part of your life, and cherishing life in a different light are just a few of the many things that this whole experience encouraged me to do. You really find the simple things in life that are often overlooked and appreciate its presence in the world. 

I hope anyone going through anything similar can read this and have hope that it will get better. Yes, there will be days that you want to scream but the better days, where he shows you that he’s with you are worth it. Im forever grateful for the twenty five years I was able to spend with him, even though it doesn’t seem like its enough time. We beg for more time and thats something that we always cant salvage.

 Thank you for the lessons you’ve taught me and thank you for the strength you have given me, My sweet angel. I live everyday for you. 

I’ll always love you Dylan. Xoxo. 

Gracie, your little sister. 

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What I Learned From The Absolutely True Diary of a Part - Time Indian

My opinion about The Absolutely True Diary of a Part - Time Indian

Everyone wants to make decisions that will not disappoint, betray, and harm the people they care about. In the novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part - Time Indian, Arnold has to make tough choices, but does not want to deceive his tribe, friends, and family. Arnold is displayed as an emotional and tough character which leads to him landing at crossroads often. The bold choices Arnold makes change his relations with the members of his tribe, his best friend Rowdy, and some of his family members. Arnold’s choices shape his character and his affiliations throughout the book.

When Arnold is at crossroads he makes decisions that disturb his relations with his tribe, his best friend, and his family members. These conflicts surface when Arnold decides to enroll into a rival school (Alexie 51). This event befouls his relationship with most of his tribe members, as they hate on him for betraying their trust and not meeting their expectations. Arnold also loses his best friend my enrolling into Reardan High School. Rowdy yells, “WHITE LOVER” and then punches Arnold in the face and walks away (Alexie 52-53). This indicates that Rowdy abandoned all trust and faith in Arnold for seducing him. Arnold also breaks the morals of his tribe and his personal morals by joining Reardan. Arnold’s tribe was always rivals with Reardan as it states in the text, “We all got really mad and vowed to kick their asses the next game” (Alexie 50). This suggests that Arnold and his teammates hated Reardan and wanted to get revenge. Transferring to Reardan breaks all his morals, as he is going to the school that demolished him and his friends. This quote also shows that it was wrong of Arnold to join Reardan because of the long scarred history between the two rival schools. All in all, Arnold’s choices put him at odds with his tribe, best friend, and personal morals.

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