Twenty Lessons

Twenty things I have learned.

Twenty Lessons
Photo by Casey Horner / Unsplash
  1. Mother puts headphones on you so she could have five minutes, for goodness’ sake. You read along. The words become sensible and stop swimming. Soon enough, you share a language.
  2. Light through stained glass: God's purplish effulgence. You feel Him in-between your ribs.
  3. On the bus, new school. You keep yourself to yourself, but there's no such thing. He won't leave you alone. It's sport. Sooner or later, it is inevitable. A crackling and a swimming as your nose breaks. You hide the blood under a jumper; you stuff the shirt into the washing machine before mum sees.
  4. Once your brother is in the grave, you do not believe that he ever existed, except as an idea. You cannot imagine the body underground.
  5. Daydreaming.
  6. Putting holy water on your father does not make him come back to you. Mother said it would. It did not work. No matter: faith intact.
  7. You climb Golgotha and you have an asthma attack. You look for a Veronica to wipe your face.
  8. Your girlfriend says she loves you, but she wishes you weren't so full of shame. She's right, so you leave her.
  9. Today's lesson comes in the form of a panic attack. You will not know where you are. Your sense of self will extend only to the edges of the abstract. Feel your body become peripheral.
  10. You want to die, but not enough. You learn this and you go on.
  11. When you are out of options, get a degree.
  12. Keep talking and nobody will be able to tell you how incomplete you are.
  13. Fall in love with the idea of someone else. Keep the idea in mind and do not look past it.
  14. Marry the woman you invented. Later, resent her sadness. Let the lines between you unspool.
  15. Know that, sooner or later, you will have to face yourself.
  16. Know that, sooner or later, you will not want to.
  17. Find your counterpoint in the most unexpected of places.
  18. Watch fifty percent of you breathe her first in a washing of early morning blood. Watch her blacken and be whipped away in a scurrying of white coats.
  19. Tell her you love everything about her. Feel her breath and know that it is also yours.
  20. Love: sometimes in gulps. Sometimes in the stutterings between the words. Sometimes in the curling of fingers. Sometimes in a windscreen's frost. Sometimes in a cold bed warmed by snores. Sometimes in nothings that are, somehow, everything. Naming these things is the love act and its pledge.