The Last Breath
Have you ever been immersed in water and tried to hold your breath? Do you remember that burning feeling in your lungs as the air slowly runs out? That’s almost how it feels, but it’s not my lungs, its my everything, my soul. It ebbs and flows and vibrates to the rhythm of my being, every beat hurts, aches, a pulsing dull pain that never stops, never goes away. The desperation and panic that you feel before you break the surface of the ocean, before you feel air again, this is my every second. Every palpitation rips my breath from my lungs and leaves a stony lump in my throat. I feel his icy hands closing in around my neck, but I don’t talk about him anymore. I don’t even write about him these days. He’s just there, as always, hovering threateningly behind me, waiting for that inevitable moment of weakness.
Today I am overwhelmed. He saw his chance and took it, cutting through my flesh with his steel, cold, tendrils. I feel everything and say nothing, that familiar searing pain of his attack numbs me and comforts me. When he has hold of me I cease to think, cease to exist, suspended in time and space. I am just a mindless shell that radiates with this eternal ache. He has been following me for over 15 years now. I learnt to stop thinking about him, to stop listening to the poison he whispered to me every second of every day. I also learnt to stop talking about him, it just makes me look crazy. People will never understand our relationship, how could I expect them to. I will myself to keep walking, keep moving forward, step after empty step, one foot after another. For a moment, a second, I hesitated, that was all it took for him to strike. I exist here, expressionless, tears run from my eyes, an assertion of the pain and the cruel realisation that resting him, as always, is futile. The abyss inside me cracks open further for him, opening wider and wider as his icy tendrils tear my flesh away and my soul apart. The cold seeps through my body, my limbs, my head, my mind. The frozen sensation within me is confusing, it causes unspeakable hurt but temporarily fills the gaping hole. For one brief second I forget it and just revel in the ice. Then everything is back, the burning black cold, the panic, the pain. I wonder to myself, if my heart stopped beating, would the pain stop? I have a lot to live for, don’t get me wrong, I have many good things in my life, but sometimes I can’t help but wonder. I pray to whoever will listen for deliverance, but I know just as well now as I did 10 years ago that it is my curse to walk this earth in this state. My wishes will never be heard. I have to live, I have to fulfil my purpose here and only then will I get relief from this agony. My voice is lost somewhere in my body, he is choking me. I feel the panic, the need to scream, to shout for help, but he has taken all sound. I am suspended in mid-air by his frozen arms while he systematically rips me to pieces. I have always known that I will walk this path alone, chased by him until the end. To others he is a mere spectre, a figment of my imagination. How do I tell someone that when I stop moving he will catch up with me, embrace me in his darkness and shackle me with his frozen iron that chills the flesh from my bones. How I explain that if I stop I will be trapped in his endless nothingness, enveloped by that pulsating ache inside me, completely at his mercy. How do I make somebody understand that sometimes I look in the mirror and see nothing but a weak body. I struggle for breath, giving up seems so easy, will it be an end to the hurt, the ebb and the agonising flow that washes against the emptiness where the light of my soul should be. One day I will know peace, when my time here is done, but until then I will never give up. I will keep running as fast as I can, the shards of his ice impaled in my core, tearing me further apart with every laboured step. But I am me and I will keep going.