29 Nov Come Monday I’ll Forget by Liv Bracci
If I’ve learned anything, it’s that Sunday night might always be heavy. It might always remind us of every night we spent convincing everyone else they were worthy of healing, every instance bringing rise to the nights that we didn’t want to live. Maybe all we could ever count on was failure. We could tally every mistake on the doorframe of the houses we grew up in until the children buried in the backyard find us again.
Mine will sit beside me with stitched-up lips, and I’ll ask her where we’re supposed to run from numbness like this, how we’re expected to mourn if there was never a body. I’ll apologize for never making room for her death in my bed because I couldn’t handle the weight of it all. How she’ll never go home again because I can’t remember if we ever had one.
I’ll unstitch the chapped skin and watch her vomit the rust and the rot and every obituary clipping mourning the childhood she survived without ever being taught how to hold herself, without ever being held at all. These words will look familiar because they’re my own; they’re pieces of me, aching in my stomach and rattling around like collected baby teeth. We never did believe in the tooth fairy. Or Santa Claus. Or God, for that matter. And the child will know all of this because she lived through it with her mouth shut.
I’ll tell her the names of the people she will one day love and watch leave. I’ll tell her about being a screwupburnoutloserwasteoflife – she’ll interrupt to ask how her puppy is. I’ll tell her she grew up to be the best dog in the world, that I might never forget how the air smelled the day she died.
At this point, I’ll be searching for the faces in the ceiling until I can breathe again, and she’ll start to tell me about spring. About knees scraped on pavement and how being loved doesn’t hurt anymore, how it was never supposed to. As much as I don’t want to, I’ll listen. She’ll tell me about forgetting names and new days that won’t taste of their skin. Having people around was never the same thing as having friends; the parts of my life I’m holding onto so desperately are parts where I wasn’t even happy. She’ll be laughing and telling me it feels nice to breathe. It feels nice to start getting our smile right on the first try. She’s still afraid of the monsters in the closet, but with me, she’ll be okay. I’ll tell her we have sharper teeth now. A salt rock nightlight and stronger sleeping pills so eventually she’ll get a good night’s rest. She’ll remind me of every night that she didn’t want to live and despite not believing in anything, I’ll thank God she’s alive.
The two of us will sit in the quiet heaviness of Sunday and think of each other, of how our throats aren’t closing around dirt anymore. This night will be the night she resurrects, and I’ll hold her for who she is. We’ll honour the insignificance of it all and I’ll give her permission to cry without immediately wiping her tears.
Permission to be a child.