Content warning: suicide
the trees are on fire this time of year — shades of terra cotta and amber and cinnamon. the lively chatter on my 8 a.m. bus ride keeps me awake. autumn arrives and with it — bonfires and welcome mats, pumpkin spice and caramel apples. the houses that line the hills speak of a warmer future — lunch notes for children, newly assembled furniture, vegetable gardens and fruit trees. the toddler that hugs me while I wait in line at trader joe’s almost makes me cry. my friend finally gets her license and we drive to the ocean,
but the cold sand under my feet somehow leaves a salty taste in my mouth. I lay on the glade’s soft grass and watch the sunlight as it dances through tree branches
but it’s all too far away.
why does the sun shine but never touch me with its warmth? it always leaves me in the dark.
I should’ve spent more time with my grandmother.
she worried about me constantly
looking out of the window wondering when I’d get home
as the rong cha she made me slowly got colder and colder
never came home.
it should’ve been me making her a cup of cha
I knew just how she liked it, with one spoonful of chini and my secret ingredient
— milk brewed separately with two cinnamon sticks —
but I didn’t make her cha enough.
I should’ve been kinder to him —
he picked me up from the hills at 3 a.m.
and made sure I was taking my medication
and surprised me for my birthday with copies of his favorite books annotated
— just as I had once mentioned I wanted
I wish he had felt he could’ve called me
before making the decision to climb onto that ledge that day
but that call never came.
it turns out they name hurricanes after people for a reason. my storms have destroyed everything in my path, and as I stand in the wreckage of my own making, all I can do is scream until I start bleeding my silenced words. no number of people telling me “it’s not your fault” will ever be enough for me to start believing it.
some nights my tears drown me
the weight in my chest amplifies and
I feel like I’ve swallowed glass
and won’t ever breathe again.
bandaids don’t fix bullet holes
and I don’t know the first thing about healing
when you’ve destroyed such tender affection, when you have so many regrets and moments in time you’ll never get back, how can you expect to ever feel the sun’s warmth again?
I’m so angry at myself for not being stronger.
It’s been years but
even so many months later
I can’t bring myself to get out of bed
must this always be my Achilles heel? to live with my mistakes forever?
then cut off my feet —
I am exhausted, terrified, hopeless
the sun rises again today. the entire world lights up with shades of terra cotta and amber and cinnamon
maybe writing notes for my kids in their lunch boxes isn’t actually so far away
maybe I can decorate my house with artwork one day
maybe I’ll wake up and actually want to be alive
but that day isn’t today.