Savage tears teethe on the edge of the darkness that hangs between the ‘here and now’ and my quarantined memories. Their distant calls remind me that I am human; that I do feel. They are the entourage of my pain; neither travel without the other. They are the gatekeepers.
They stand and watch me from behind my eyelids, as if amazed by my unfathomable sadistic need for regurgitation; the need to bring back the bitterness that I had before swallowed deep within the crevices of my sweet forgetting.
‘He’s back!’ I hear one say to the other. ‘He can’t get enough.’ The other replies.
They can’t wait to cascade. They long to form their river of outward release. A monument to my frailty. They’ve waited patiently, some more patiently than others.
‘It’s been too long!’ One screams at me with audible venom. I walk slowly and calmly through the corridors of my mind. The tears seethe and snarl. ‘Let us fall!’ Another screams as he hammers on his cage of harassed skin. I continue my slow, deliberate and silent walk. I decided before temporarily leaving the façade that keeps everyone outside reassured, that I would not be provoked.
I walk on and see scratch marks on walls, marking the places where I fell before. Where I broke down. Where I was defeated. The memories gnaw at my resolve. I feel them tearing into my flesh. ‘I will not be provoked!’ I tell myself. I feel the tears growing with strength, as they see me weaken. I walk on.
One of their allies, ‘self pity’, comes towards me gently as though not walking but actually floating. She is beautiful. Her voice is as melodic as a thousand harp strings plucked in perfect unison; and calming like the touch of mother’s hand. She pleads on behalf of the tears, claiming their imprisonment is unjust, and that they seek only peaceful asylum. She says in a honey laced voice, that makes the hairs on my neck stand, that they will improve these corridors. They will make everything seem easier. The flirtation in her speech excites me. The thought of letting go and swimming in my anguish becomes so appealing. I can almost feel them running down my face. I can feel my eyes readying themselves, like proud parents, watching their children leave for their first days. I can hear my breath recalibrating itself, with sufficient space to accommodate the falling. Then I stop myself. I will not be provoked. I walk on.
The tears are far behind me now. I can only just faintly hear them over the sound of huge silent clarity. I see it; the box of quarantined memories. I step toward it. My eyes have returned to their original state. My lunges and heart have calmed. I’ve never been this close to it. I open the box and freeze at the sight of over exposed, finger marked snap shots. I leaf through them breathing slowly and deeply. At first the images evoke a sharp cold inhalation that creates a deep pain in my chest. The pain is so immense; I can hardly look at them. I squint my eyes and peer through simulated fog. I slowly allow the fog to clear, until I find that I’m actually studying each form, each line, each highlight and shadow, until their details become medicinal. Like a bitter herbal concoction to cleanse my mind. To purge my soul. I drink until I am full, and then, without fanfare, I let the tears fall. The tears have now taken on a different guise. What was once a savage reaction, a chemical display of my pain, now falls down my face as a cathartic outflow. This journey’s end creates a thousand more beginnings. The first of which surely must be acceptance; acceptance that for now at least, she has gone.