Water is used to cleanse
But after the summer before eighth grade
I’ve never looked at oceans the same way.
That morning, a hurricane of emotions raged its way through my fingerprints -
It must have centered itself in my palms, for they were the ones that dragged me out to sea,
That pulled my head under the high tide waters,
That brushed the sand right next to my nose...
Or maybe the storm’s path fell right between my lips
And that’s why they parted to inhale the ocean floor
As if taking in what was below me would anchor my body in so deep
My soul would not have the buoyancy to return to the world I was leaving.
Or maybe that tropical thunder was pounding in my chest
Replacing my heart because whirlpools don’t beat;
And there was a ringing in my ears that sounded an awful lot
Like emergency bells warning of a disaster,
But they weren’t warning me.
They were a precaution to the living that I might return unscathed
And walk among them as storm that would break all her bridges before she made them,
Its no wonder my best friend bullied me.
I was always too happy or too sad or too chubby or too skinny or too smart or too stupid
Or too “you were adopted, your birth parents threw you away like trash, no one could ever love you because you’re just a mistake.”
Funny, I’ve heard that repeated more than once.
That day those words chained themselves around my heart instead of ribs
My brother repeated those words, spitting them into my face,
They swam with me off the coast out over my head
And watched bubbles rise from my lips, up and up and up.
A wildfire erupted in my lungs, quickly burning through unoxygenated tender.
Soon everything burned.
Stars appeared in my vision.
I panicked, but only because stars were up and all I wanted to do was drown.
But then something peculiar happened -
My former therapist called it an act of God
But I hear voices anyway
So a new unfamiliar coo in the back of my mind
Growing louder the longer my consciousness tried to fade didn’t startle me;
Eventually I had to listen.
Yelling is so hard to ignore when it wakes you up from eternal slumber.
It was a boy who called my name,
He seemed so confident and sure of himself, like he’d already doubled checked his facts.
He told me one person dies every forty three seconds from suicide,
Meaning I would become a statistic.
My death would be nothing more than a number added into an equation.
He sounded so sure,
So sure that I was worth so much more than some statistic.
I don’t remember doing it...but somehow - I lived.
Somehow I faintly recall gasping for air, choking on a blue sky,
Clawing at the waves trying to hold onto everything that would’ve let me go.
To tell you the truth, I don’t know why I’m here right now.
Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night
Completely confused because I think I’m still drowning.
And maybe I’ll never make it out of that ocean.
Maybe the hurricane in my veins will never go away and that reassuring voice will never return.
Maybe I’m doomed to be Calypso,
Stuck waiting for the calm after the storm.
But if you are the storm, do you ever get to see the calm again?