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PROLGUE:

Fear is a very complicated emotion. It can be enfeebling at times if you allow yourself to give in to it. For some, fear is merely another surmountable obstacle. The brave can manipulate their fear and face it head on. Yet for others, the cowardly if you please, their fears can be constricting, consuming, and paralysing to the point where the simple act of breathing can be a struggle. Fear is a weakness. Fear is MY weakness…

* * *

 

“When will it be enough?” Vesuvius asked as she stared into her cold dead eyes. “When will we finally be finished? I am so tired of playing this game with you. I’m so tired of pretending.” She watched tears begin to twitch in the corner of her eyes and trace a line down her cheek. “There’s no more anger here.” She wiped at her weakness with the back of her hand. “I am not afraid. After tonight, I won’t hurt.” She lowered herself into the warmth of the tub and closed her eyes. She was relieved.

* * *

 

Fear isn’t as simple as it appears. It’s not always about being kept awake in the evening by the nagging idea of Freddy Krueger and his knives for fingers coming to rip you open. The long fingers of fear reach much farther than the human imagination. It can grab you at moments when you least expect it. It could be that you become paralysed when speaking in front of a group of your pears, or it could be the realization that you have spent your entire life so afraid of failure and disappointment that you’ve not tried for anything or anybody. For me I have wondered around this world empty. I’ve been so afraid of loss that I’ve let go of everything. I have stood before you, not a failure, but rather a hollow shell, an empty human being full of dashed hopes and dreams. I am a black hole, and with me you have wasted away. I will not take up anymore of your time.

* * *

 

She’d taken the knife from the butcher’s block. She’d slid it in and out of it’s sheath, it’s significance greatly increased. She wondered how others would view this same knife. Perhaps when her parents returned home the following morning and found her in their bathroom the knife would be hailed as a hero. Would anyone be there to mourn her? Her cat would probably be disappointed that she would miss his evening feeding, but Vesuvius doubted he would be sad.

She was alone. The reality of this was what had brought her here. She’d never reached out and no one had ever truly seen her and had never reached in. Until this moment Vesuvius had stumbled around her life hollow and void not really feeling anything but disappointment and want. Everyone feels alone, but few know what it’s like to face solitude, to have nothing but yourself only to find that yourself is nothing, that yourself is blank and empty.

* * *

 

It became tiring, living this life. Unless you have been here, you do not understand what alone truly means. There is no-one for me now. I have tried to cry out, I have screamed for you to see me, to hold me up when I could not stand, but all of my requests and pleas have been denied and invalidated. I do not blame anyone for this. Seeing the way I have become, I understand the disgust on your face when you look at me. I do not blame you for your ignorance of me. I am a waste, a drain, and my hope is that I am not too late in stopping this.

* * *

 

“I am saving them,” Vesuvius muttered through her tears. “I am helping them. Though they may never know it.” She closed her eyes and waited. Her heart pounded. She was ready. The knife caressed the flesh of her left wrist. A thin line spread across her skin. Crimson blood dripped steadily onto the surface of the water. She watched the dark plumes ripple and spread out. She waited another moment before repeating the motion with her right hand to her left wrist.

“I am helping them,” she repeated. “They will be freed when they see what has happened here tonight. This is their salvation too.

* * *

 

The worst of it has been the fighting, the constant struggle between happiness and tears, with depression always taking over. While others have moved on and become great things, I have stayed right here struggling, with every fibre of my being, to keep my head above water, and to keep from drowning inside of myself. As hard as I have tried, I am tired, and I can no longer tread this water. I can’t handle the ups that inevitably crash down on top of me threatening to take me down with them. While I have felt moment of sunshine, the stormy weather is what has stuck with me. The cloudy haze, in which I have spent my life, has kept me stuck and paralyzed, too fragile to risk failure. As I stay in this place, surrounded by myself, I let go of it all, as I realize this is me, and I am inescapable.

* * *

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