A sign of the unknown. A sign of one day at a time. A sign of the past. A sign of …
E, from A Sign of Life, provided the following powerful bit of writing to share with all of you. Please take a minute to read and comment here, before popping over to her site to continue building this great new community.
I knew part of him was suicidal, but I had never seen it in action.
It was a warm night and we had too much energy to remain in the dingy motel room I had been staying in. Out of boredom, we decided to see a movie – some dumb action flick with a lot of popular names. The theater wasn’t terribly crowded, but his preferred spot was taken, forcing us to sit towards the front. I idly wondered if he would be okay without having his back to a wall; it was one of his many idiosyncrasies born of paranoia.
The movie was terrible, more so than we expected. I remember the sounds of explosions and gunshots being fired, but I didn’t think much of them – he was fond of violent movies and watched them frequently.
Suddenly he shifted in his seat. He withdrew his arm from around my shoulders. His normally imposing presence became small and meek as his shoulders hunched over and he put his head in his hands. He brought his spidery legs up, folding his entire body into the uncomfortably-cushioned red cinema chair; it would have been amusing seeing my six-foot-four beanpole of a fiance so squished, if it weren’t for the fact that he was rocking quietly back and forth, sobbing ever so quietly.
I put my hand on his back and he flinched away.
“What’s wrong?” I whispered as a demon appeared on screen, wading through a river of lava.
He shook his head and continued rocking.
Rocking and sobbing, sobbing and rocking.
I tried asking again what was wrong. He shook his head again, vehemently, then hissed back, “I don’t want to be here.”
Confused, I asked if he wanted to leave the theater, conceding that the movie was, indeed, terrible. He shook his head and looked at me. Tears rolled silently down his sharp cheeks, and his eyes screamed for help, for peace, for the pain to stop.
I’ll never forget that look.
It was only a moment, then he went back to rocking and sobbing, sobbing and rocking.
I was confused, and scared: for me, for him.
“I don’t want to be here,” he insisted again.
I encouraged him to leave, to let us go outside and clear our heads. In return, I got another head shake. Increasingly bewildered and bordering on frustrated, I asked what he meant.
“I don’t want to be here, Erica, alive. I don’t want to be here,” he yelled as loud as his whisper would allow him.
Then he was quiet again, rocking and sobbing, sobbing and rocking.
Minutes passed; I’m not sure how many. Gradually, he unfolded himself from his chair. His shoulders stretched out again and his eyes dried, but he seemed shaken and somehow fragile. Apparently he was feeling well enough to whisper sarcastic comments about what was happening on screen – something about how fitting it was to see Channing Tatum play such a role. I chuckled nervously and nodded, giving him a concerned look.
When I asked what happened, he whispered, “PTSD attack,” and shrugged it off like it was nothing. I felt more than watched as he compressed that part of him – the part that craved the gentle kiss of death – and shoved it far amongst the other skeletons in his proverbial closet.
It will resurface again; it’s as much a part of him as it is his thick black hair, or his almond-shaped brown eyes that are brimming with mischief and life. I don’t know if it will rise in the form of senseless rage, or intense paranoia, or a depression so low he doesn’t return from it. Years of therapy and medications have managed to get it under control, but it will never go away entirely.
There isn’t much else to be done except wait.