I pace my breathing to match the blinking text cursor mocking me from the blank white space of the document. Sunlight on the sheets of freshly fallen snow, it blinds me. And yet, I can’t find it in me to muddy the perfection with the filth of my thoughts, my words. What is motivation but a club with which to beat punishment into the battered canvas of my body for failure to be worthy of composing a single word?
Fifteen years old, you sit amongst the shards of the mirrors in your bedroom. The vanity, makeup compacts, handheld mirrors – nothing remains but fragmentary reflections.
You are tired of seeing yourself. You do not want to have to look. If you can’t see, maybe you won’t have to be disgusted. Instead, you can surround yourself in ruin and count the years of bad luck you’ve damned yourself to.
On the plane to Texas, I carved open my chest with surgical precision and extracted each of my emotions. As we rose above the clouds, I dropped my organs like bombs one by one onto the towns and cities below. Let my spleen, gall bladder, heart, and brain become the four humors of the apocalypse, plaguing people with my biles and phlegm and blood.
On the plane to Texas, microscope in hand, I extracted each remnant of my soul from each one of my cells. Like so many gentle snowflakes piling one atop the other to become malicious drifts, I peppered the broken pieces across state boundaries. Let the rest of the world dig itself free. Let them find a way to live under its weight.
On the plane to Texas, I chiseled away layer upon layer of memory, trying to excavate some fossilized remnant of self crushed by the weight of experience. Rock shards and dust fall away, filling the plane, polluting the lungs of those forced to breathe the contaminated air. Let them cough and choke.
On the plane to Texas, a familiar knife weighing heavy in my hand, I carved away my skin looking for the instruction manual written on the opposite half, on the muscle, on tendon, on the marrow of bone. Let my skeleton be light. Let someone else search for meaning within the discarded flesh.
When I landed in Texas, all that was left were scraps of a former life, a tattered attempt at a smile flapping in the wind like a long-forgotten pennant. I could have become anything. I wanted to become nothing.