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.”
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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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To the guy that shot my brother...

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To the guy that shot my brother,

On January 9, 2019 my families entire life changed with one phone call. The phone call that my little brother had been shot in the face, no other details. We didn't need any other details. The woman on the phone who called us in full panic told us where he was so we went, as soon as possible. I don't think it helped that not even 10 min prior I talked to Zach on the phone.. kind of irritated with him, and the ONE TIME I didn't say 'I love you' as we hung up. Could've been the last time we ever spoke.. I remember pulling up to the hospital thinking 'this can't be real' 'it's not our Zach' 'this is just a dream Sarah, WAKE UP' I'd close my eyes really tight just to open them, I was still in the hospital emergency parking lot. I could still hear the ambulance sirens coming. It was all real.

The day our life's changed was definitely a test of faith. A test of how strong we were, as a family. I sat in that waiting room ready to see the damage that has been done to my sweet baby brother. Because at that point we had no idea how lucky he got. That glimpse of seeing Zach will haunt me forever. How helpless I felt in that exact moment frequently wakes me up from these horrific dreams I've been having ever since that day. That is a moment burned into my me and families brain forever.

You always hear about these things in the movies or on the news, a house being shot up, someone shooting another innocent person, not to care if they died on your watch. But we found ourselves on the news.. We have been confined to the hospital since that day. Running on barely any sleep, taking shifts of sleep so we don't make ourselves sick taking care of Zach. Watching him suffer. Undergoing surgeries, to repair the damage you did.

Before I proceed let me tell you a little something about the man you shot.

Zachary Keith Wright. A blonde hair blue eyed boy. Who could potentially be the most annoying human on the planet (possibly coming from his sister). A man who loves his God first, loves his family second. Perfect by no means, but almost perfect to me. A 19 year old who was to graduate high school this month. After graduation he was prepping to leave for Marine boot camp in the summer.. being in the military has been Zach's dream since he could talk. Literally. Running around, playing war with underwear on our heads, and finger guns. Some would say we looked like natural born assassins.. growing up he has been a country boy. Let me tell ya country to the core. He loves this country like he loves his family. He believes in helping people, taking charge in what's right, and never leaving a brother behind. He's lived by that his whole life. Until now....

The day you shot him. The day not only did you change my brothers life, you changed his families life too. The day you almost ripped my brother out of this world... for what? A misunderstanding? Because you've let something take ahold of your life that you can't let go you're willing to kill someone innocent over? Luckily for him, his guardian angels were protecting him in your time of cowardice. There were 3 times that day he should've died, the time you shot him, the time you tried to shoot him again as he stared you directly in the face, (even tho he couldn't talk I know you could read his eyes, and he still intimidated you. That's why you tried to pull the trigger again) and the time he was running out of the house. But he lived. A man who was shot in the face, didn't lay there helpless, didn't scream in agony. That MAN walked to the neighbors to get help. Why? Because he's a MAN, and because he's on this earth for a reason.

It's gonna sound a little strange not only to you, but the audience who is reading this. I must say thank you. Even in this situation, this was the best outcome we could get. He gets to live. He will make a full recovery. He will graduate. And he will go off into the Marines. You united my family together. Closer than ever. Thank you. You tested our faith and brought us closer to our God. Thank you. Because of your moment of weakness, you showed us what prayer could do. Heal anything. Thank you. This was a bump in the road, and a helluva way to kick off our year of 2019. But here we are.. all laying in the hospital. I'm looking around as mom is sleeping in her recliner chair exhasted but still here, Zach his awake playing his xbox all hooked up to machines, fighting to heal and get better. And of course I'm writing this letter to you.

See you in trial,

From the girl whose brother you shot.

'Fight the good fight' - 1 Tim 6:12 🤟🏼💙

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23 Things That ~Barely~ Run Through A Girl's Mind During Her First Workout In, Like, Forever

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It's the beginning of the semester and that means half of the students on campus have decided that we are going to go back to the gym after their workout routine fell through last semester. It's been months since we've stepped foot in the gym, but we are ready to attack it and get fit. That is until we get there and start going.

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20. Hallelujah, praise Jesus, I am done!

21. I am so tired

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