My Friend, Death

I have met Death

One could say Death is my friend

The first time I met Death, I was 5

My friends had all left me, leaving me alone on the playground

They had gone off to a play a game together

A game I didn’t really want to play

When I’d asked them if they wanted to play my game with me

The game I’d spent days creating and inventing

They said no and walked away

Leaving me alone to cry

Alone to die

And so Death snuck in quietly

Cautiously

She dried my tears and took my hand

I looked into her eyes

One a cold, startling blue

One a gentle, warm brown

I looked at her face

Half with tan, creamy, unblemished skin

Half with cold, clear bone

And I smiled at Death

And Death smiled back

She reached behind my ear

And she tugged out a flower petal

With her warm, tan-skinned hand still clutching mine

She used her pale, bony hand to crush the petal

And then Death left

 

I have met Death

One could say Death is my friend

The next time I met Death, I was 7

My so-called friends had dragged me kicking and screaming across the playground

They had saddled my already-bruised body

They had pummelled their fists into my stomach

They had ignored my screams

They had relished in my pain

When they got bored of tormenting me they’d left me alone

They’d left me alone leaving me to curl up and cry

And so Death had crept up gently

Carefully

She had placed her bony hand on my back

Her eyes looked down at me with sympathy

Her lips curled up into a hesitant smile

Death smiled at me

And so I smiled back

I wiped my tears away and sat up

I gave Death a hug

Death’s pale hand reached behind my ear and pulled out a petal

She placed a kiss on my head

And with her bony fingers she tore the petal in half

And then Death left

 

I have met Death

One could say Death is my friend

The next time I met Death, I was 9

A boy in my class had made it his goal to make my life ****

He kept saying things I didn’t understand

The class around us would laugh at him

They thought he was funny

They thought it was funny to watch my face burn

As we’d already established

They pulled my chair out from under me and would laugh as my face turned 3 shades redder

They liked torturing me

So when the boy said things that made me blush

They laughed

Even if they didn’t understand what he said

After what felt like the 100th time he’d said something

I ran to the bathroom crying

I vowed to tell my teacher the next day

So I approached her during recess

And I told her what he’d been saying

But she wasn’t having any of it

She accused me of lying

She accused me of wanting to get back at them for winning a game against me

I broke down into tears and told her she was wrong

The minute she left I bawled

And Death snuck up

She could hardly look at me without crying

She took me into her arms

One pale, one tan

And she held me close to her

She kissed the top of my head

She smoothed my hair

And I noticed that in her pale hand she clutched a petal

Her fingers made quick work of decimating that poor little splash of color

And she smiled her sad smile

She set me gently down

Death smiled encouragingly at me

I smiled wanly back

And then Death left

 

I have met Death

One could say Death is my friend

The next time I saw Death, I was 13

I was sitting at my computer

I was talking to a boy I’d had a crush on since 1st grade

I’d heard a rumor about him

I refused to believe it

But the seed of doubt was planted

I knew I had to find out for himself

So I sat down at the computer

“Hey…. are you gay?”

Silence

3 jumping little dots

Silence

“Yeah, I’m gay”

I felt my heart turn to cement

I felt my heart drop

Tears started flowing

“Oh.  Alright.  Cool”

But my head was thinking

It’s my fault

No one will ever love me

I’m ruined

And Death slipped in

Her lips quivered

Half healthy pink skin

Half no skin at all

Her hands wrung

She seemed more hesitant this time

And when she reached behind my ear

This time she clutched 2 petals

She rubbed them together

Slowly the color bled out of them

This time I sat there confused

This time I did not smile at Death

This time she did not smile at me

She sniffled

And then Death left

 

I have met Death

One could say Death is my friend

The next time I met Death, I was 14

I had met a boy

He wanted me

He said he needed me

But he didn’t respect me

He would push and push and push

He wouldn’t take no for an answer

And then one terrible day

He forced himself upon me in a way he never had before

Terror and fear filled the air with their scent

And the minute he let me back up

Thunder struck and announced her arrival

Death stormed in

She glared at him

Her warm brown eye turned dark and stormy with hate

Her cold blue eye became penetrating ice

But he paid her no attention

She turned to me and her gaze softened

She must have smelt the fear

She must have known what was going on inside my head

Her dress shivered in the breeze of my wails

Half white taffeta

Half black silk

This time she yanked out 5 petals

She threw them to the floor and they disappeared

Her pale bony hand gently caressed my face

And from within her cloak she pulled out a pair of silver scissors

Her bone fingers gently pulled the skin of my forehead back

They carefully pried the top of my skull off

I felt her lift something out and heard a snipping sound

A fog filled my head as she replaced what she’d lifted out

A fog filled my head as she continued to glare at the boy

A fog filled my head until I couldn’t remember what had just happened

A fog filled my head as Death smiled at me

A fog filled my head so I don’t know if I smiled back

A fog filled my head but I knew that then Death left

 

I have met Death

One could say Death is my friend

The next time I met Death, I was 16

Death had tried so hard to keep the memories she had snipped away

She tried so hard but eventually something brought them back

I was sitting in a classroom listening to a presentation

The film reel of my memory was winding back to that horrible night

And it was staring at the gaping hole

And it was searching for the memory wondering if it had lost it

And so Death walked in

And she looked at me sadly

She pulled a memory from her pocket

She worried it between her tan fingers

Her bony fingers itched to touch and destroy it

But instead she took out a sewing needle

She opened up my head once again

I smiled at Death

I was excited to get my memory back

But Death did not smile back

She sewed the memory back in place

I gave Death a hug

And I watched her snatch the petal from behind my ear

And I watched as she snatched one more

Two more

Three

5 in total

She looked at me sadly

And as my mind’s film reel moved back again to the spot

I remembered

And inside myself I screamed

I screamed and screamed and screamed

And I heard Death echoing my scream

And Death looked at me with pain in her eyes

One blue, one brown

And then Death left

 

I have met Death

One could say Death is my friend

The next time I saw Death, I was still 16

I had had a week of straight disappointments

But I kept holding out

I kept waiting for the one I’d tried the hardest for

I didn’t get in

My heart broke in two

I waited until I got home

And then I begged Death to come

I pleaded and cried

I waited and waited

And finally Death came

She looked at me

I looked at her

She turned to go

I caught her by her bony wrist

She looked back at me

Her eyes were the saddest I’d ever seen

And then I spoke to Death

“Please, Death

I can’t do this anymore

Death, please take me

Please, no one will care

Please, Death

Please

Take a petal

Take 5

Take them all

Please, Death, please”

Death stared at me and shook her head sadly

“Please, Death, I’m begging you

How often do you get someone to beg you to die?

Death, please

Take me

Take me, Death

Please”

She shook her head again

“Why have you come here, then?

To tease me?

Torment me?”

Death’s eyes were filled with tears

One blue, one brown

Her hands shook

One tan, one pale

Her lips quivered

Half skinned, half missing

I stood up and clutched her shoulders

One covered in black silk, one covered in white taffeta

I looked her in the eyes

And softly I said to her

“Why have you come all these years if not to kill me slowly?”

And then Death spoke

Her voice was soft and yet rough

It was the loud and firm kind of quiet that brings respect

And just a healthy amount of fear

And this is what she said

“Your time is supposed to be up today

I’m supposed to take you with me today”

I wrapped my arms around her

I buried my face in my face in her dress

And I sobbed

She wrapped her arms around me

One warm, one cold

And she held me close

When I was finished crying I looked back up

And I smiled at Death

And she smiled back

And so I said

“So let’s go”

I slipped my hand into her bony hand

But Death’s smile faded

She gently pulled her hand from mine

She sat down on my bed

And then Death did something she’d never done before

She slowly pulled off her hood

Her hair was pulled up in braids

Half white-blonde

Half deep black

The braids reached halfway down her back

She swung them in front and began playing with them

Her bony hand patted the spot next to her

I slowly took a seat

Death didn’t say anything for a while

We were both silent for a long time

And finally Death spoke

“I am supposed to bring you home with me today

Your time is supposed to be up”

I nodded

“So let’s get going then!”

I stood up ready to leave

But her bony hand caught my wrist and gently tugged me back down

I stared at her confused

She met my gaze

And as she tugged out only a single red petal

These words tumbled out of her half-dead lips

“But I am not going to take you

I am not going to take you today”

I gaped at her

My hands shook with fury

I turned away from Death

I clenched my teeth

And I looked back at her

And I screamed

“WHY NOT

IF I’M SUPPOSED TO DIE TODAY

WHY WON’T YOU LET ME DIE

WHY WON’T YOU TAKE ME

WHY DO YOU HATE ME

WHY, DEATH

WHY?”

Death’s gaze was cold and full of patience

She waited until I stopped screaming

And these were the words that she said

“You may be fated to die today

You may be allowed to pass through our gates

But I have seen the good you do

I have seen the joy you bring people”
I scoffed and she stared at me

“I have seen how your friends look at you

I have seen how your mother smiles at you

I have seen you make your father proud

I have seen the strength your therapist sees in you

I have seen the way people look up to you”

I sat there silently glaring at Death

But she wasn’t finished

“I have seen all the things you’ve done your whole life

And I have seen what you can do

I have seen what you will do

If you stay alive

So while I have been allowed to take you today

I have been allowed to offer you a choice

You may come with me now

And you may die

And you may bring sadness to everyone around you”

She turned her bony hand over

Not offering it to me

But not withholding it

“But I beg you

Please stay alive

Please

Become the strong young woman you are meant to be

Get married to the man I have seen

He will treat you right for once

He will love and respect you

You will have wonderful children

You will get to keep and work on all your talents

Please, please stay

Stay and really live

Do what you love

Your life can be so much better

Your life will be so much better

Please stay

Live

Don’t come with me now”

Her eyes were pleading with me

Begging me

My chest hurt

My eyes were watering

My fingers itched towards her upturned palm

I wanted desperately to take her hand

I wanted my pain to end

But I looked her in the eyes

One blue, one brown

One soft and warm and pleading

One cold and hard and demanding

And both were begging me to stay alive

There we had it

Death wanted me to live

And so I closed my hand

I drew it back to my side and looked down

And Death grinned at me

She threw her arms around me

And she laughed a laugh of relief

I smiled softly

And I hugged Death back

And then Death gladly left

 

I have met Death

One could say she is my friend

And the next time I meet Death I know she hopes I will be a lot older

And I hope so too

 

This poem is about: 
Me

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