The Lonely Watches of the Night

It’s been a while. I’ve been pretty caught up in work, and socializing. Arguing with my sister and forgetting about it the next day. Reuniting with old friends. Writing. Going on family vacations. Trying, and usually failing, to step outside myself.

I’m no hero, in any sense. The things I do right I only do because it’s always been that way. I’ve never stepped close enough to the edge to be tempted. I tell myself I’m a peacemaker, and that I can always see both sides of the issue, but I find it so hard to relate to someone who struggles. Me, I just keep doing the things I’ve always done, and have barely made any progress on the things I’ve been trying to do more.

Of course, I want to be someone that others can look up to. To be a savior, rather than just a background character. But that requires looking past the end of my nose. Not as easy as it sounds. I want to help people change their lives for the better. I want to catch them when they fall. But the mind is of different opinions, and I’m trying to keep myself afloat, right now.

Human beings are so fragile. We can be hurt so easily, by a harsh or wrong word. Such a small thing. Yet it can cause so much damage. Years of hurt, all a result of a few words. Sure, the wounds caused heal, but there are still the scars. Maybe not as visible as a physical scar, but it hurts more. After all, psychology says the pain of rejection doesn’t lose its keen sting with the passage of years. It’s pain like that which will cause us to face the dark watches of the night alone, in silent tears, wishing we could be different, thinking longingly of our own demise. Better yet, a complete cease of our existence. We remember every plausible weapon we have, and stop caring as much about what it will do to our family and friends. It just needs to be over already.

This regained fondness for suicide got me whispering a two-word prayer in that darkness—a mantra against it. Help me. Words I find myself unable to say to a living person, face-to-face. I know how to play the game, after all. When someone asks how you’re doing, their eyes are going to glaze over as soon as you start talking about your problems. The appropriate answer must be positive, or neutral at the very least. It’s every citizen’s job to shut up about the bad stuff. Laugh in the open, but save your tears for closed doors.

Yes, I’ve seen It’s A Wonderful Life as many times as the next red-blooded American. I understand how I’ve supposedly affected so many people’s lives for the better. But they’d be fine without me. After all, so few of them ever notice that I’m even there. Not really.

I’d thought I was over this. I realized I wanted death, but I didn’t actively seek it. And I was fine with that. But pleasant, ending thoughts have a bad way of coming back in the dark of the night. They claw at your mind, over and over. Sweet and alluring, to shuffle off this mortal coil, and find an end to the heartaches and thousand natural shocks which flesh is heir to. No more responsibility, no more stress, no more questioning myself. Because there’d be no more me.

And even when there aren’t those sweet thoughts of suicide, there will still be me, sitting quietly on my bed, staring at the open blade of my pocket knife, wondering where to leave a mark on myself. Something that will hurt, but not affect my performance at work. Because I am an idiot, at my core. And the stupid needs to be bled out.

This story doesn’t have an ending yet. Right now, the antihero is merely staring off into the distance, shelling out her To Be or Not To Be. She’s hoping things will get better. But it feels like they’re just going to get worse. Disasters with her not standing as a hero, but cowering, playing the forgettable role of Afflicted Citizen 398. Longing for the affection of one of the heroes, but knowing her place and never speaking up, so she doesn’t even get the role of abhorrent admirer.

But after finally having applied to the local college, she is planning to make use of the counseling services offered—just have to wait to get in. That’s a bright spot. But alas, the dark appeal of death and injury are so very tempting.

Life: it’s such a bother.

Advertisements

To My Dad

Dearest Daddy,

Thanks for being there. It isn’t often I acknowledge you for anything, as I’m too busy with my own life. You’ve put up with so much—you really have the patience of a saint. But, this Father’s Day, looking back, I start to think about all the things you’ve done.

You’ve stuck with Mom all these years—through every fight, and every little shred of her craziness. You never truly objected to being the walking ATM. Instead of offering stories where you were always the hero, like Mom did, you offered great conversation, teaching us little things about a variety of subjects. Thanks to you, I learned how to build my own desktop computer. How to play an RPG. Poker and Blackjack. I knew the biggest and smallest countries in the world, all the states, and all their capitals long before I ever needed them for school. You taught me to be careful what I pray for. How to mow a lawn. All about having the greatest display of Christmas lights in town. And although as a child I always hated how you teased me (remember that time I broke your foot?), I learned that life is meaningless without a sense of humor, even if the only jokes you can come up with are the stupid ones. Even then, Dad, you could always make someone smile. You always made sure we had fun. Mom would scold you and talk about you behind your back so often, but you still make her laugh, too.

No father is perfect, of course. But all my friends agree: my dad is cool. And this Father’s Day, while they’re all saying they have the best dad ever, I know they’re wrong. In that respect, you could totally beat up their dads.

So, thank you, Dad—from the deepest, darkest pits of my withered black heart—for being exactly the father that I needed. You rock.