Today is one of the bad days.
Today, I spend an hour over the page, spelling out my name onto paper, over and over and over again until it’s all I can see.
A curve here. A line there. A dot. Repeat.
A tear drops onto the ink and leaves a speckle of blue that wobbles when I exhale.
I feel my pulse steadily rising, my heart beating faster as I take another breath.
It’s all wrong.
It isn’t me.
The paper cackles as I crush it, mocking me.
I feel like a mirage, as if I’m made of smoke, fading into nothingness.
A cold squall of wind could hiss my way, and I’d be gone, only two sets of nails and thirty-four teeth swirling in a spiral down to the ground.
And then, just as quickly, they’ll turn to dust and ash, blown away in a gust of grey.
Maybe someone will look up as I billow past them, a look of distant incomprehension on their face.
Maybe another will mouth a perfect ‘O’ as my hand fleets right through their arm, grasping for a berth.
The moment will be forgotten as quickly as it came.
I’ll be forgotten.
I could have never existed.
Memories are dust. I’d lean on words any day.
On the desk I write on is etched three words and a date.
S.R. loves J.D. 2007.
If I close my eyes, I can look up and see two pale, shimmery shapes rise up from the letters, hands clutched together, eyes shining, a tender glance, a subtle kiss. I love you.
No one can refute that now. It’s evidence. Evidence that they existed, that they lived, that they loved.
I would like to have that, I think.
Decades later, I would like for a hand to run its fingers over my carving, sharpen the edges, perfect the letters. I would like to become a part of the wood, to live forever through it.
And if my name is on the page, if my name is scrawled on some distant pillar, I tell myself: I can’t disappear.
I was here.
I told you.
I told you I was.
That’s my name, I was here.
I rip the page and start over.
The paper cackles as I crush it.