To Fester is Fatal

He calls every Wednesday.

It's his day off from work.

He says he has more interesting things to tell me on his days off.

The first few minutes are delegated to sharing about our day.

"Did you know I'm a sunshine sneezer," I ask. "I walked outside this morning and sneezed so many times it hurt my head."

He did not know.

"I broke up with my girlfriend," he says.

I did not know.

After we share, we usually take turns picking a topic.

He often picks comics.

He asks me to tell him the stories of Wasp, She-Hulk, Miles Morales.

I joke he is too lazy to read them himself.

He says he prefers hearing it from my voice.

Last Wednesday, it was his turn to pick.

He did not pick comics.

"You're a literature major," he says. "Do you know off the top of your head authors who have killed themselves?"

I do.

He asks me to list them.

Sylvia Plath.
Virginia Woolf.
David Foster Wallace.
Hunter S. Thompson.
Ernest Hemingway.
Sarah Kane.
Iris Chang.
Manuel Acuņa.

I list them like ice cream flavors.

Comfortable, familiar.

There are so many more whirring in my head.

Different ages, ethnicities, sexualities, time period, style of work, manner of death.

"Why do you think so many writers kill themselves," he asks.

Sadness only answers to temporary relief.

You must drug it or wrestle it out of you and bind its spirit to ink, or else it will fester.

To fester is fatal.

Sometimes you cannot relieve enough of it quickly enough.

It feels like you were sentenced to fester the moment sadness overtook you.

I do not say this.

"Their lives were not enough too much," I say instead.

Because I had ordered Chinese that night and fortune cookie wisdom was at the forefront of my mind.

"Shit, that's relatable," he says.

"Yeah," I agree.

We sit in silence for several minutes, listening to each other's breath.

"I love you," he says.

"You're sweet," I say.

We hang up.

___________________

This Wednesday, my phone does not ring.

I wait.

I call.

Directly to voicemail.

_____________________

Thursday morning, I am dressing for work.

The phone rings.

The screen lights up with his mother's name.

I exhale and pick it up.

"Hello?"

To fester is fatal.







Poetry by MsImaginary
Read 35 times
Written on 2018-07-05 at 16:32

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