I Can’t Go Down

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Do you know who I am?

To know me you’d have to listen to the story behind the words I say. But let me give you a hint. I am the one who always greets you with a smile because any other form of expression will backfire and tumble me down, impel me down while I whimper on every stumble. Down I go, if not a smile on my face, down below the point of no return, in a spiral of melancholy, down so quickly I do not even see or acknowledge your reaction for you are not there, down so deeply just looking upwards, trying to catch a glimpse of the hopeful light is tiring.

Do my words glow in front of your eyes and make you remember that day, when you just got off work, when you just received a phone call, when you just woke up, when you just spilt the coffee on your dress, when you just shat and found no toilet paper and smiled because that was your only viable option?

No. I refuse that. You have no idea how much relief I attain when I sense the smile curve up on my face, as if it’s the first time I do it right, as if I’m still a toddler in front of the ephemeral gaze of your eyes.

But who am I kidding? The smile is just a part of the badly acted façade. Even with the smile I feel like I’m struggling to swim through an invisible mire of shit, trying to get to you, trying to get past the smile and reach for you, like a hapless blind man trying to get out of a choking maze. But what would come after the smile? if when I come to you, when I kiss you, when I fleetingly remember the days when you waited for me outside of school, when you helped me and taught me to be strong when I’m alone and humble when I’m not, when I touch you in certain places, and all the while, I am still much thankful and in debt to my inner emotions, which at the moment would be boiling with the self-containment of my feelings and expressions, all hidden behind a smiling visage, you say I’m being mean, that I’m being cruel, sarcastic, unloving, overly and overtly critical of small unworthy details, and I wonder if you can see through my failing smile, and if you can, why you’re not helping me, why, instead of just touching and poking me with your remark, you’re not hugging me and comforting me. Yet I stay silent as you poke me, as you play with what is wandering about inside of me in the hateful corners of my mind which hold in them the fabricated images of the truth that I know, yet not willing to accept and proclaim as real.

I am writing this for you, although I am sure you will never read it because, out of all the things I know, I know the one thing that will ruin your existence; I know the only thing you do not want anyone to know, not even me; it is the one thing I did not want to know.

But I keep your truth inside of me because I do not want to go down; because you’re the only one I get consolation from. You seem so far away right now it’s not even fair.

And I can’t call you, and I can’t wish you a goodnight, and I can’t see you. Your memory is a dead memory; your absence is my suffrage.

This letter will be smudged, stained, sucked by dirt and clay and ashes and dust.

You did not want to tell me but you did.

And you’ve gone away too soon, and I cannot go down.

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