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  • Michael Schwab


August the 2nd, 2016

The wind blew hot and the windows flew open in the early morning. The same humid breeze drew in cold that night.

You sat with me on the wooden floor in the downstairs hall with dry eyes, your cold hands holding my feet. I didn't understand you then. I cried for him. That's what you do when someone you love gets taken away. That's what you do after finding them hanging in their bedroom.

I felt as though you were hanging from a thread. You clenched my feet as if you were. That whole night I wept over what he must have been thinking until your grip led me wandering into your mind. I think you died with him and I don't blame you. I don't blame you now.

I liked staring at those green bottles you stacked up in his room. Not because of what they meant but the way the light would hit them. They tossed green shards around the room as if they were shattering upon the floor. It was like clockwork. You would spend a bottle a night up in that room and the next morning I would watch them burst along the wooden boards.

I missed you. You took off of work but I would only see you in the kitchen, cooking for us. Waking up late and sleeping after school, I only met you at dinner. I would eat and I would thank you and you would shoo me off to bed. I missed you but you missed him and there was nothing I could do.

The glass bottles would shatter in the upstairs room and one night I heard them ricochet through the stairway. Chunks of it stayed in your hands and I had to call the ambulance again. In the hospital room, watching you sleep, I knew you were tired. I should have been afraid but I didn't understand you then. I didn't understand how being tired could be worse than being upset. So I felt relief when you slept. I felt relief when you smiled weakly at me as I woke you up.

July the 4th, 2012

"If you died today, I would kill myself."

I never thought you would say something so meaningful to me.

I always thought I would say the same. But I never did.

You're gone and I'm still here.

May the 9th, 2014

Last night you came in my room. You were angry or frustrated and I tried to calm you down but you started yelling at me and then we didn't speak for days. I couldn't get this bad taste out of my mouth and I wonder now if I'll find anything like it. That bad taste. It was sour at first and grew on my tongue and I would swallow it down or spit it out but it wouldn't go away. I couldn't stand having you mad at me. I just wanted to make you happy.

September the 3rd, 2016

The heat woke us up that morning, floating through the open window and attaching itself onto our half naked bodies. I shifted over off of my side of the bed and closed it shut, rising, stretching up to pull the cord on the ceiling fan. I turned to look at you, draped across the sheets like a used towel. You were sweating and the covers stuck to you like velcro.

We had breakfast at the dining room table and smiled at each other like we were happy. I liked looking at you because you were pretty but it made me sad that he wasn't here instead of you.

Mom didn't wake up that day and I left her dinner at her door.

July the 18th, 2016

Last night we were flying on this giant carrot in the sky. I was crying when we started falling but you shushed me and I smiled. Something about being with you hurts but I forgive myself because of it. I've never loved without whirling, emotional thunderstorms of pain and you make me like that about you.

It's sweet and something like a kiss with a fist but I asked for it and you love it so. You hide it well under gray linen and stuff it inside to keep quiet. The first night I wanted you we were on the couch and I felt a growing resistance beckon me. You grinned and got me hooked on your kind of self harm.

August the 10th, 2016

I sometimes worry life is a lot simpler than I think it is. If love, pleasure, and fulfillment can exist without fear, anger, and blame, then why am I sitting on this hill with my butt in the grass and my body feeling like too much to carry? My mind wants to run wild in the wind but this body wants to be buried and it's in times like these when I consider the only solution I can think of.

If a rotting corpse is worth more than a rotting mind then I'd better pray someone do me the honor of cutting the strings. I sure as hell don't own the confidence to sever my only tie to existence. You had stronger guts than me to let this boulder of mistakes roll you right over. I think it's become clear to me that only the strong survive in this life. And I just don't know if my pain tolerance is great enough.

I'd wimp out when we would bite our fingers. I'd punch you in the gut before you could make a dent. When I bit hard you'd bite harder until we ran out of fingers to spare. And you always won. So tolerance has nothing to do with this. Tolerance is entirely different from strength. You had the guts to let the pain drown you and I've got the guts to throw it all up.

Michael (Age 17, he/him) usually writes poetry and short works of fiction and is now trying his luck out on creating a novel/short story piece. This story is centered around themes of coping with suicide and family troubles. He will be submitting 6 chapters, most of which are very short. Each chapter is directed toward a different person, hence the temporary title "you" which will be ever-changing within the novel. Any criticism/support or ideas surrounding the development of this novel would be greatly appreciated, especially from a first-timer.

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