a story in ten parts

CW: illness, hospitalisation, shock treatment

one. you never write about it directly, only in metaphors. fifteen was a bad year. sixteen, seventeen, eighteen. two. all the notes from the hospital arrived last friday, in huge courier bags, like evidence from a crime scene. you tipped eight months of your life across your bed. the doctor could point to no significant event. you still wonder if you blocked something out. three. you break the skin on the inside of your palms when the thoughts surface. shake your head, as if a bug has lodged in your ear. think about smoking something, take an extra pill for sleep. four. you’d have thought it would’ve eased by now. five. you think it can’t be good, to have been stuck in survival this long. you think you’ve glimpsed beyond it, sometimes. six. she saved your life there, she’s gone now. seven. you count down when they put you to sleep. eight. the anesthesia ran through your body, sometimes you still wake up expecting to be in the recovery room, throwing up. eight. every person you tell about the shock treatment looks at you in disbelief. you tell it like you’re talking about your high school english class. eight. years since. some days it may as well have been (yesterday). nine. years since, this new years eve. you think there’s a kind of symbolism in that. the one thing you cannot let go, beginning on the precipice of a beginning. ten. you fall into a sleep, they shock your brain, you wake up in the emergency room. ten. you fall into a sleep, they shock your brain, you wake up and it’s the future. courier bags and waiting rooms, new years and old dreams, funerals and birthdays. ten. you wake and it’s the future

Featured photo courtesy of author.


In a dream, you saw a way to survive, and you were filled with joy.


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