Conscious and sub-conscious clash on the edge of darkness
|I closed the door to my bedroom and walked over to the dresser, where pictures of you and I sat. My gaze fell upon one particular picture of us, that day at the beach, 20 years ago. I'm sure you remember that day, Maoko. It was when I finally told you how I felt. How I really felt about you.
You took it hard, as I knew you would, but you saw that pain in my heart as I told you and you comforted me, like a true friend. You didn't judge me, just because of my feelings for you; you just hugged me and told me that no matter what, you would always be my friend.
My heart that day, ached terribly, but you knew just how to comfort me. I'm glad that I told you how I felt. I'm glad that we're still friends.
But... Oh, how I still love you today, twenty years on, I could never show you. Because today, you gave your heart to another. To Morenney. I watched as you gave your deepest love to him in front of me. In front of everyone in that church...
I'm happy for you, I truly am. Just knowing that you are happy makes me happy. But it still hurts me to see you with Morenney. I now realise that we can never be together like I had always dreamed we would be.
I turned away from the pictures and flopped face down on the bed with Belle, the little bear that you had given me for my tenth birthday, hugging her close to me. I began to sob; tears trickling down my nose and noiselessly hitting the pillow. I cried for some time, not out of sorrow for losing you, but the tears of happiness, knowing that you have found someone who could make you as happy as I had when we were in school together.
Looking back, I remember the day Morenney came into your life. You had just told me that you had had a dream about him the night before and, just as Mr. Mattikas had us settled in our seats that morning, he introduced Morenney to us... To you.
I can still see the distant glances that Morenney gave to you during the rest of the school year. It was like he was trying to get your attention, but was too shy to speak. Then, when we were given an assignment to do and had to be put into pairs, you and Morenney were put together... and from there on in, you two got to know each other.
It happened so fast! After just a few weeks of speaking, you two became close. As close as we were. Maybe even a little more so.
I never once thought that the two of you would one day marry each other. I feel as though he has taken my place as being your best friend... As being... more... And that brings me back to why I'm crying into my pillow, hearing the soft rustling of winds beat against my windows. A dark and cold day. It suits how I'm feeling right now. How can I live without you by my side any longer, my dear sweet Maoko? I owe you so much...
I rolled off the bed, slowly, wiping at the tears that were still streaming down my face and picked up the letter opener that lay on the dresser, beside that picture of us at the beach. Placing the blade to my left wrist, I felt the tears stream down my face. Hot, salty tears that rolled down my cheeks and onto my clothes.
The blade was cold, menacing. I thought of it as a way to escape. Escape the pain of losing the one person who meant more to me than my own life. I cut deep, running the blade over my wrist, down my arm; the warm blood spurting up from ugly, exposed arteries. I fell to my knees, watching as the blood pooled around me on the bare wood floor, showing my horrible reflection.
I cut my other wrist, barely able to hold the razor in my hand, because of the pain, and I cried out, as I looked down at my reflection in the pooling blood around me. I saw a pale girl crying over unimaginable pain - not from her open wounds, but from a shattered heart.
I lay down, in the puddle of blood and turned my head, barely able to see the picture of Maoko and I at the beach, that day, twenty years ago. Through the pain, I managed to smile.
But now I'm tired... closing my eyes, I allowed my body to relax and I waited for the darkness to consume me.
* * *
What did you say? I can't remember now. It was so long ago. Years, it feels like. The out-come: You got married and I'm alone. Is this the way it's meant to be? Huh. I guess so. Why else would I be here, floating in this icy darkness, between worlds?
My fate is sealed. Did I forget to thank you for the ride? Thank God for each and every day that we were together? No... I took them for granted, just like I took everything else for granted. I was blind, but now I see. Yes, I finally see everything.
You are my best friend. Were my best friend. You told me all of your problems without worry, but could I tell you any of mine? No. Not a single one of them. I kept them hidden from you. Was it wise of me to do that? I think not, as I think back. But it's too late to change the past. To change what's been done.
You're probably in Tokyo by now, having a beautiful dinner with your wonderful new husband. And I am here... wherever here is...
I can't get you out of my head. The last time I saw you, you didn't see me. Or did you? You held all of the cards and I was asking for anything you had. If I could do it all over again, well, would I change anything? I guess I'd have you back to the way I had you when I first told you about my love. But I learned the hard way. I can't have it back to what we had then, and I know I won't have that chance again.
Some nights I sat on my own, with the feeling of being alone. Wondering if you'll ever come back. But now I know why you are gone, and I'll be the first to say that I'm wrong. I just wanted you to know that it was hard for me to spend the nights alone. Now, as you're disappearing, I'm hearing... I'm hearing all that I wanted to say to you, and it's all just too much for me. Maybe I should just focus on the thought of letting you slip away. But this strange feeling... the feeling that you're not telling me all that you wanted to say to me...
Oh God, why did it have to end this way? People running from something they can't see; knowing that it's not easy to get a handle on life. Answering back, just to feel a little free. Knowing, deep down, that we are all slaves to the Human way of life. Still, what can we do about it? As the saying goes, 'Against overwhelming odds, you will lose.' In a way, we have all lost. But, wherever we go, we must go with all of our hearts, or else never achieve true happiness.
That must be it. True happiness. I pretended all my life that I was happy, but was I really? No. How could I have been, if I'm in this place?
I never lived through the Great Depression, although I feel as though I did. Everyday I saw you, I felt pain, knowing that I could never have you like I had hoped. Had dreamed.
So, sayonara is the last word... that I could not say forever. For me, you are still one of the pleasant memories of my youth. Now I must leave you. Sayonara is the last word... Maoko-chan. Sayonara...
* * *
You look so peaceful lying in that bed. Your eyes closed and your chest rising and falling in rhythm to the beeping of the machine beside you. I find it hard to believe that you could of tried such a thing, but you did, and I can't understand why. We are friends, best friends. Why didn't you talk to me? Tell me what the problem was? Why try and kill yourself, Juliet-chan? I can't understand it. Nothing gets so bad that one should try and end their life because of it. So why did you try it, Juliet-chan? Why...?
But you won't answer me; you may never answer any of my questions. I wish that you'd wake up, just to tell me what the problem is. I care about you very much, maybe even more than Morenney. We have been best friends since long before he came into my life. I thought that you could trust me, confide in me, but obviously I was wrong. I still care for you, and I always will, Juliet. I thought you knew that...
Seeing you in that hospital bed pains me deeply - my best friend in the world, lying in a hospital bed, hooked up to a machine. Why did you try it, Juliet? That question keeps repeating itself over and over again in my mind. It's not the question that bothers me, Juliet, it's the fact that you may never answer it for me...
I've replayed the message on the answering machine that your mum sent to Morenney, and I, over and over again. It was the first thing we heard when we got back from Tokyo. She could barely speak as she told us how she had come over to your apartment to visit, and had found you lying in the middle of your bedroom, unconscious, and slowly bleeding to death from self-inflicted wounds on both of your wrists. Morenney drove me straight to the hospital, where I've been, ever since we got back from Tokyo. For five days now, I haven't been able to eat and I've barely slept. I'm so worried about you. I don't know what I'll do if you never wake up. I'm going to stay by your side, Juliet, even if it takes twenty years for you to wake up. That's how much I care about you. How I've always cared for you in my heart.
Even my dear Morenney cares for you! Even now, he's at your mother's place, consoling her. She's so grief stricken that she hasn't been to work since she found you and can't stop crying.
Oh, don't get the wrong idea, Juliet! Your mum cares a lot for you, but seeing you in that hospital bed must have broken her spirit. She was asked to leave the hospital) after she kept screaming at the staff to do something to help you. When I came, Morenney took her home and has been there with her ever since.
Look, Juliet. Even Rika-chan, my sister has been to see you. She made that long flight all the way from Osaka just to see you and give you that lovely bouquet of magnolias and dandelions that now sit on the table beside you. That was sweet of her, wasn't it? Sweet and loving to make you know how far she would go for you, to show how much loving care she has for you. So you see, Juliet-chan, you have many people who care about you, even if you don't see it yourself.
What was that? Maybe I'm too tired to see straight. Maybe my imagination is getting the better of me, or I'm exhausted from no sleep, since the doctors told me you probably wouldn't ever wake up from the coma...
I take my hands and cup them over yours, squeezing lightly. Tears of joy stream down my face as I feel you squeeze back. It was very soft, but I felt it!
"Juliet-chan?" I say, hopeful that you can hear me.
Your eyelids flutter open and you move your mouth, attempting to speak, but I put a finger over your pale, cold lips. There isn't any need to say anything. There's plenty of time for that later. For now, Juliet, rest...
* * *
It has been a week now. A whole week since I woke up in that hospital bed to find you by my side, Maoko-chan. Has it really been a week? It seems longer, somehow. At first I was confused, unsure of where I was, but I saw the bandages over my wrists quickly, and it all came flooding back to me. My loneliness, your wedding, the letter opener... Then, the happiness when I first saw you sitting beside me, crying deeply. It was then that the guilt hit me. Of how I got you so worried, so upset...
I felt worse than anything else in the world. How could I do that to you? I have no logical explanation to it. To any of it. You deserve an explanation, I know, but I can't tell you why I did it. If I told you the truth, you would only blame yourself, and there's no way in the world that I want you to blame yourself. I'm the one to blame. You should blame me for everything until now, Maoko.
I didn't care anymore. I didn't care if I lived, or if I succeeded in killing myself. Nothing mattered to me. In a way, I was beyond life. Now, I've looked death in the eye and survived. All because of our friendship. And the love of my mother.
In some ways, I'm glad that my mum found me. I'm with you again, my dear Maoko, and you're happy to have me back, if not a little worried. Somehow, I also wish that I had died. Now I have to live with the fact you don't love me, Maoko.
But that's the least of my worries right now. I'm too preoccupied with what's been going on since I woke up. Doctors, psychiatrists, counsellors. All of them asking whether I hear voices or have tried to kill myself before. Questions of the mentally insane. I sit in those bleak, windowless white rooms, just staring at the walls, answering each question in my head. Only I know the answers to their questions, and they scare me.
I've got something to say, but I don't know if it's worth a mention. Is anything I say just a waste of breath? Not worth the effort to say? No, I don't believe that now. Why am I even thinking of such trivial things? Who knows? Maybe I really am crazy... Maybe I should be put in an institution, separated from the world by locked doors and isolation rooms.
You're staring at me, with those big hazel eyes of yours, waiting for an answer. What was the question?
"Make it go away," I whisper, ever so softly. You look at me curiously.
"Make what go away, Juliet-chan?"
I fingered the bandage on my left wrist, playing with it. I can't look you in the eyes. If I did, I know I would begin to cry, and I don't know if I could ever stop.
"Make what go away, Juliet-chan?" You repeat, cupping your hands under my chin and lifting my head slightly so our eyes meet.
"Every time my heart starts breaking, " I can feel the tears running down my cheeks, "I try and hold it down..."
I blinked. What was I trying to say? I didn't know. I'm just babbling uncontrollably. I feel the tears stream down my face, faster, and I put my head down and cried. The next thing I knew, I was crying on your shoulder as you hugged me tightly, humming softly in my ear.
Why do you know me so well? Should I try it harder to hide myself? Should I just open up and tell you everything? I know I should, but can I really bring myself to do that? I have to. If I want to save myself, then I must tell you everything...
Surpressing back sobs, I manage to say, "Maoko? I'm ready to talk..."
* * *
I laugh. I feel. I fall down on my knees. I am caught in the arms of an angel. You are an angel. My living, breathing angel, whom looks out for me no matter what. I feel safe. Safe in your arms as you hold me, never letting go. I'm grateful for that, and I live on for you. I have to live on for you. Otherwise, what kind of future will you have?
But I cannot be free. Free from this pain. This constant loneliness that lives inside of my heart. It's stupid, I know, to feel this way, but I do...
I looked out the bedroom window and saw the sun slowly sinking in the distance. The pink and orange glow over the horizon calming my soul, and ending the first day of the rest of my life. Sighing, I took off my dress, a fluffy white one that had to be my favourite in my entire wardrobe and searched through my drawers, pulling out a light blue nightgown with the picture of a fading red heart on the front and slipped in to it. The material of the nightgown was cool on my bare skin, it's silk-like material massaging my weary body. It felt good.
I closed the curtains over the windows and climbed into bed. Turning off the lamp, I huddled underneath the warm covers, closing my eyes and imagined a wide stream. On either bank, were large, mighty trees, their leaves blowing softly in the wind.
The clouds in the sky drifting lazily, pushed by the gentlest of air currents. I'm in paradise and nothing can break this peaceful scene... nothing.
* * *
I promised that I would stay by your side, and that's what I'll always do. That's what true friends do for each other, right, Juliet-chan? We help each other out in hard times. For now, I'll let you sleep. You need all the rest you can get. I'll be here for when you wake up. In case you need me.
Don't worry, okay? Morenney understands completely. He knows how close we are as friends and is being the best husband possible. Why, he even cooked us dinner - no spices. He knows how much you dislike them. But it was a marvellous dinner though, wasn't it? You, Morenney and I eating a meal that was fit for a Princess! And we were at that. Look, we even got to have a few laughs about the good old days at school... you even made a few jokes! It was almost as if we were all ten years old again!
Please don't ever think negatively on the past, Juliet. It's true that things change, but not so much that twenty years can ever change our hearts. We'll get through this, because we're all working with you...
* * *
I heard the front door open and I turned my head just enough to see my darling husband come in. In the twenty years that I'd known him, he has hardly changed at all. He's taller now, as expected, but still retains that same youthfulness on his face that I fell in love with. I still wish that he'd cut his hair!
"How is she?"
"She just went to bed, Morenney, dear. It's been a hectic time for her. For all of us."
I see Morenney nod and collapse on the lounge in front of the television and thumbed the controls. An AFL match came up on the screen. Carlton against St. Kilda, if I remembered my teams correctly. Not good odds for Carlton, considering their recent track record.
"Maybe you should go home, dear? You look tired."
"Not just yet," Morenney replied, grunting as St. Kilda scored a penalty throw. I've learned all these years to never say anything bad against my darling husbands' Baby Blues.
"I'm going to check on her, see if she needs anything," I say and stood up, making my way down the short hallway to Juliet's bedroom and slowly opened it. I peer inside. Soft, gentle snores reach my ears and I smile to myself.
"Good night, Juliet-chan," I say, closing the door. "I love you."
"I love you too, Maoko dear," I hear you say and I can't help but smile brightly. Sweet dreams, Juliet, I think and go back to join my husband.