You Can't Live There Forever

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Crack. Slam. Crash. Smack. Smacksmacksmack.

Such are the sounds made by the remnants of the ones in the changing room. Cries of laughter, cries of pain, cries of annoyed agony at what's going on around you.

Vision fades in and out. Black, then full brightness, then black again, thrusting you forward into the unknown, yet a predictable unknown. Funny, isn't it?

And the age-old adage enters your head. "Don't be a bystander!" all the posters in the hall chime. Every kid has grown tired of having this message ceaselessly droned into their heads, especially when it's not as if you can have your time to make such a decision in a split-second moment.

However, you do have such time. And the internal debate breaks out once again.

Defend yourself. Do something. Just — use it, don't be stupid, come on.

But you can't. It's not like you could. The risk presents itself, and for a brief moment, you consider it.

The snake's voices hiss in your mind. Calling for you to come closer, wanting you to do this. To give them just an inch of your head for a brief moment, so so quick, then all your pain will be dealt with. They seem to whisper exactly what you want to hear — such are the demons that lay in everyone's head. They wish for you to do what you cannot.

They have made fun of you for too long. Come. Let us swap. WE will make ever so quick work of this.

You shake it off. Think back to the beginning of today. Oh, how did this turn out to be like this?

First, you heard it once more. As you walked into class, the taunts and jeers. Not loud enough for the teacher, mind you, despite how stupid the perpetrators are, they aren't that idiotic. "Nest head." "Terrorist." "Headwrap." "Mummy." Oh, so imaginative. If only they'd spent those braincells on learning a bit more history, perhaps? But that's hopeless dredging for another day — one best left to your imagination.

Then, the call. Confirmation. He is the same as before. Maybe he will not remember you on your next visit. Perhaps, you think, that is for the better. Then, then he will not see what a disappointment you've become.

Your agenda. Work piles ceaselessly. It is callous. Unforgiving. You are cold to that world of love, work, and brief moments of play.

Then them. How you wish you could say something, anything to make your dreams come true. But those wasps enter your stomach every time you see them, and alas, you are only left with small talk. It is nothing. They never initiate conversation back. They don't want to have it. They don't want you.

At home, fights. Screaming matches that pound your head into the ground. Being dragged into it. Thoughts of divorce, though they are quick to ensure you it won't ever happen.

One thought enters your mind. No. Both of your minds.

It is not fair. Every ounce of what is decent is stripped away. I have but small, small things to get me through each day. And for what? To repeat it all again.

It. Is. Not. Fair.

And you are angry. Pity is nothing anymore. What does it change?

You have never enjoyed pity. Rather, the snake does. Somewhat. But it's not like you ever are certain people care. They could be lying. Are they?

Oh dear one. All you have is me. All we have is ourselves. Nothing, and no one. They will all leave, it will all end, but you have us.

You spit. "Dear one." Such disgustingly familiar language used by the parasite up in your head. In truth, perhaps it is right. You are often left alone. By your choice, or by others.

You are, at times, afraid to sleep. Because of it. Because of that snake. Perhaps because of something else. We would not know.

And like a slot machine, all of this rings up. Collects and counts and tallies up. Divvies it up to those around you, the calculations made in a split second.

Briefly, you fall to the ground, limp. Those around you are just a tad concerned. Beating someone unconscious is a bit… cramping on the old style.

But you rage.

You can feel it, can't you? The limitless power coursing through every minuscule portion of your body. Pumping, calling, no, urging for you to strike.

And so you do. That power flowing through all of you, your strength as that of an ox. The others are scared. You leap from your position, bruised and battered, a modern-day Leonidas, and slam the next upside the head. You take that anger, and you use it. Beat it, and beat it, and beat him further down into the ground. On and on.

And the snake is satisfied. Are you? You ask yourself this.

No. No you are not. So the snake retreats back to the recesses of your mind, proud of its work, living coiled under its rock to come out and play another day.

The others avoid you the next day. And the hole inside your chest only grows.

Did this help? Did this do anything for you? Will this fix it all?




Such anger doesn't do anything for you. And so you leave. You leave, and you thrust yourself into those recesses of your mind, the gyre only tightening. And what a terrifying sight it is. Though you are quite stonefaced outside, the inside betrays the truth. It is raw, and it is hungry, and it is empty and churning and frothing and barfing and holding your head over the toilet and throbbing with pain and barfing barfing oh god it won't stop and anxious and terrified and petulant, and selfish and so so so so worthless and a bad person, the most deplorable and terrible and simply unforgivable. Irredeemable, as some would put it.

And that truth resounds. Let the others tell you otherwise. The parents. The friends. The teachers. You have learned to only drill yourself. To be your own executioner, teacher, and gift-giver. Such is the way of that snake. Such is the way that you live.

It will not change. Neither will how the circumstances are. Even if some evidence, some shred of possible belief points to the opposite, your mind easily, ever-so-silently where no one can hear it, throws up a possibility. And a possibility as a result of that possibility. Leading that chain to continue ever downwards, as your spiral tightens only further.

And so?

So what? That snake, that dragon, that anxiety, it never does cease.

It is. It was. It will be. Such is the way.

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