Life and Death and Then Some
When I woke up in the morning, I wasn’t thinking about the fact that his arms were still wrapped just as tightly around me as when we passed out only hours before. I wasn’t thinking about how tenderly my head rested on his bare chest. I didn’t notice his legs cautiously entangled in mine or how sweet his skin smelled. I wasn’t paying attention to how comfortably both of our bodies fit on the leather couch because we were so wrapped up in each other that any more space would have been over indulgence. All I was thinking about was that I was fucking cold, bare-ass naked, and my head was throbbing like a dirty dub bass.
Sometimes the thought of life makes me physically ill to my stomach. I remember having moments in the fourth grade in which I’d be at recess and I’d look around me and think to myself, “I am.” …and then I’d have to vomit. The thought of being able to process thought and emotion and come in contact with people and say things to them and know what I was saying… the first time it all hit me was in the fourth grade. Right around the same time I first got mad at church. I was capable of thought… I existed… and I didn’t understand why or how.
Over a decade later, I still don’t have the answers to either question. The only thing I’ve been able to learn is that no one does. In fact, a lot of people don’t even take the time to recognize they’re alive.
I don’t blame them, either. It’s horrifying. To realize that you are entirely capable of anything within the bounds of the laws of physics alone, to realize that you are responsible for all your own thought, all your own emotions, all your own existence… it’s a lot to take. Because then you have to realize you’re responsible for the bad thoughts. You’re responsible for the bad emotions. And that’s where we hold the most power. You are responsible for your own existence… and that is a lot to be responsible for. I never agreed to that.
To recognize that you are alive, you have to recognize that you one day won’t be. And as much control as you have over the living part, there’s only so much you can do to control the dying part. That’s where it gets horrifying. That’s when my stomach starts to turn.
Because I know exactly what I’m doing tomorrow. I know exactly how the rest of my week will play out. I have plans for spring break, for next summer, for the rest of college. I even sort of know what I’m doing after college at this point. I know what I want to do with my life. But sometimes, when my stomach turns, I wonder how much of it matters, since I don’t know what I’m going to do with my death. The only thing I know about it is that I won’t be responsible. And that’s terrifying.
When he dropped me off, I didn’t even turn to look at his face. Even though in the pit of my chest I felt a sharp twitch that felt vaguely like I was second-guessing myself, even though the night before had changed my life, if ever so slightly, I stepped out of the car with nothing more than an, “I guess I’ll see you around.” Which was just so incredibly casual that that, in itself, is what made it awkward. We both laughed at it. I would never see him again.
- katy-erin posted this