Christmas and the ‘Deadly Anniversary’

My father shot himself on February 3rd, 2003.
He took a small-bore rifle to his head and ended his life two days after his 44th birthday.

At his funeral, my mother, sister and me did not follow the casket as burial custom demands, but walked in front of the funeral procession instead.
Apparently, this was wrong. People frowned upon it.
I didn’t care. I wanted everything to be over and done with.

Two weeks later, after the gossip of my father’s ‘unnatural’ death had spread through the small town I was living in at that time, a woman started talking to me while I was out for a walk. She asked me if the rumors were true that my dad had shot himself in the head twice, because the first time apparently hadn’t done the job.
I left her standing in the street without a word.
Stupidity and lack of tact don’t need to be rewarded.

The first Christmas without him came and went… as well as his first birthday. It was a strange time, but I know that it’s the same for every person out there who lost someone. Anniversaries aren’t always the good kind.

Every year on Christmas, I think of the Dead.
It’s like a habit – an anniversary of thoughts (sort of).
Maybe it’s because I finally take the time to relax for a little while… escape the daily grind and our fast-paced world. I am somewhat ashamed. Throughout the course of the year, I rarely think about my father anymore.
Sure, thoughts of him pop into my head now and then, but they aren’t frequent.
I seldom look at his pictures… they are there, up on the shelf in their usual frames – and that’s that.

Next February, it will be 10 years.
10 years since he’s been gone.
It seems like such a long time.

I seem to have lost the ability to ‘picture’ him in my mind. I mean, fully picture him. I can’t see his face anymore… all I get are fragments… his beard, the color of his eyes – but if I try to see his face when I close my eyes, it is simply not there.

We tell our Dead they will always be remembered.
We tell our Dead we will never forget them.

I think we lie, unintentionally, when we say things like these. Images, once so vivid in our minds, fade in time – like old photographs. After years of ‘absence’, all we remember is a vague outline of the person we once loved dearly.
All that truly remains is a feeling.

I love Christmas.
Not for the presents or the food, nor for the fact that it is a religious holiday, but for this utter stillness inside of me. I have time to think about the past and do not need to rush.

I enjoy the company of the Living and the Dead alike.

Sometimes, I wish I had a photographic memory.
Sometimes, I wish I could see the faces of the Dead lighten up for me… for just a moment.
But I am me… and so I will have to make do with what I have.

I love Christmas. It makes me remember the Dead.
I am thankful to be reminded.

Frosty_Christmas_Night_Wallpaper_1920x1080_wallpaperhere

Merry Christmas.

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photo credits: wallpaperhere.com

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dryad

his body was fading and he did not mind.
he couldn’t feel his muscles growing weaker; his heartbeat, slowing to the brink of death.

her eyes.
those green, otherworldly eyes.
he could see his reflection in them… and for the first time in his life, he felt beautiful.
worthy.
meaningful.

her slender fingers caressed his brow as she slowly rocked him back and forth, back and forth… back and forth.
the softness of her voice soothed his worldly aches.

she sang to him.
low.
melodious.

his heart skipped a beat.

how long ago he had followed her call, he could not remember. he had found her… deep in the woods, striding towards him with open arms, inviting.

how do you resist the charms a goddess?!
how do you resist falling to your knees and bowing to her will?!

that smile.
he had lost himself in her smile.
nothing mattered.
just her… him… and their wholeness.

the touch of her hand, light as feathers, made him drowsy. he drank in the warmth of her embrace.
so soft… so feminine… so… perfect.

her tune ended on a whisper, the last tones dripping slowly from her full, luscious lips.
she smiled – just for him.
as she bowed her head and leaned in to kiss him, he closed his eyes… eagerly awaiting the touch of her lips on his.

just this one kiss…

the next moment, his life was forfeit.
a life claimed… by the goddess of the woods.

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photo credits: scenicreflections.com

Sequence of Truth

Time.

There was a time I existed… only in my own head.

There was a timeIi went nearly extinct; thrived only by nourishing words… seldom received.
For a while, those got scarce… and my light almost winked out.

Almost.
It was a tough time.
But i made it through.

I saw the look on my mother’s face when they told her my father had killed himself.
I saw my sister fall apart.
I heard their questions and pleas… heard them mourn, saw them crumble and fall.
I didn’t want to help them find answers.
I knew there weren’t any.
He was gone… and nothing would make him come back.

Oh, I hurt, too.
I cried, too.
But I wouldn’t join them. couldn’t join them.
None of them had ever known what he had done to me.
They still do not know.

I am not sure if he deserved my tears… I want to believe he did; because deep inside, he was a good person.
Someone worth mourning.

Does it make sense to love and hate one person equally?
Does it make sense to miss someone who screwed with your head and heart, but at the same time always looked out for you?
Does it make sense to want to kick someone’s ass and hug them at the same time?

For me, it does.
I miss my father.
No child is born bad; there is always someone who is responsible for screwing people up.
Someone did that to my dad.
And my dad did it to me.

Back then, life wasn’t easy.
Like I said… my light almost winked out.
I almost gave up.

Almost… that’s the keyword.

I had to make a decision.
Long ago…
I decided that I would be the one to ruin my life… if anyone should have the opportunity, it should be me.
Ever since that day, I wear my fighting gloves. They might look old and worn by now, but they are still all I need.
Problems, no matter how big they may seem, are minor obstacles.

At the end of the day, after all, I still breathe.
I still have my spark.

Isn’t that all that matters?

I do exist.
Not only in my own head, but in this world.
I do exist… and i could not be more thankful.

Pain and joy both make me realize one thing…
I am still alive enough to feel them.

beauty’s cruel face

falling.
it is all he remembers.

huddled in the corner of the dark, dank room, he tries not to feel. not to think. not to engage in the same battle yet again.
sanity versus longing.
a hopeless attempt.
despite his efforts, the image of her is still fresh on his mind; no matter how hard he tries, he can’t seem to shake it off.

her eyes.
those cold, feline eyes staring down at him.
so beautiful.

he shivers in the darkness.
no light. time does not exist.

has it been days now? months? years?

he can’t remember.

the soft shuffle of bare feet on naked earth makes him sit up straighter. he braces himself for yet another encounter with her.
the woman.
the Goddess.

the battered, wooden door opens agonizingly slow.

it is her.

taking her time, she steps into the room, placing her bare feet gracefully on the hard-packed earth. her legs, long and slender; playfully covered by the thin, silky gown caressing her skin; her body, a silhouette, illuminated from behind.
he swallows, licks his parched, chapped lips.
perfection.

the immaculate, pale skin of her arms and chest seems to glow as she bends down to him, her hand moving up to his shoulder ever so slowly.

finally.
cold. so cold.

her frozen lips slightly parted, she delicately runs her slender fingers from his shoulder down to the center of his chest.
he shivers.

he feels neither thirst, nor hunger. neither exhaustion, nor pain.
he feels only her touch.
he craves… only her.

so this is it. the end of all things.

and as her lips draw closer to seal his fate, he loses himself in her cold, feline eyes.
there will be no dawn tomorrow.

the morning after

the early morning sky looked beautiful.
sunny and clear, a light breeze blew stray strands of hair out of his face.
he closed the car door and inhaled deeply, trying to chase away the cold that had settled in his heart with a lungful of crisp air.
it did not work.
a sip of the stale coffee he had purchased at the drive-thru of one of these cheap food chain restaurants didn’t help, either. it tasted bitter in its styrofoam cup, even though he had put lots of sugar in it.
still, it couldn’t mask the taste of bile in his throat.

she had died about three hours ago. died… under sterile, fluorescent lights; to the soundtrack of a monitor, flatlining.
she had died with a tired smile, resting her frail hand in his.

as he approached the front door, he dismissed the mail, bulging out of the dirty-white mailbox, with a single tired glance.

not now.

with shaking fingers, he turned his copy of the key in the lock and pushed the door open to the familiar sound of wood meeting slightly too high carpet.
home.
he was home.

she hadn’t changed much during the years. everything felt the same, looked the same.
the furniture was still familiar; old, but well-kept. even the faint, lemony scent of furniture polish hung in the air. his throat constricted. he swallowed.
memories.
he could see himself… an ungainly, clumsy boy, taking the creaky wooden stairs two at a time, eagerly following his mother’s call for dinner. he remembered the slight smile on her face as she told him not to scamper while ruffling his hair.
that had been years ago.

he slumped into the easy chair sitting in the corner by the window; his mother’s favorite spot. scanning the magazines on the small table next to it, he finally gave in to the exhaustion.
the house felt so empty.
her presence no longer lingered here.
she was gone. forever.

what to do now?