Bright Places And Empty Spaces

March 12, 20178 min read

Trigger Warning: Suicide

I close my eyes for just a second but then a voice, one that transcends the limitations of all my nephrons and veins, calls my name. And suddenly I’m standing in my kitchen, parallel to the medicine cabinet. The door is open and my hand is stretched up inside- my fingers are firmly gripped around a bottle. The bottle is being pulled closer to me and I can almost make out the print. Ah. Adam Hanson: my big brother, the family superstar. I think my lips are curving into a smile and I try to call him. But my fingers, the ones not clutching his precious anti-depressants, do nothing. My phone screen looks blank, but I don’t think that it is. What happens to all the parts of us we try and hide from the world? There it goes again. The voice. It is real, I am sure, but when I look around my bright white –such a glowing white, bright, light- kitchen, I am alone.

I am all alone, but I can feel him -Adam- that is. Everything smells like oranges now, including the bleach on my countertops and fingers. Adam liked oranges more than he ever liked me. But I still miss him. Water is cold and fast-flowing or feels that way as it touches my skin. Wait, when did a sink factor into this equation? The water turns crimson as it drains through my fingers and there’s a good chance that I am bleeding, but I can’t feel it. Is damage more dangerous without the pain? I’ll let myself know when I figure it out. I feel like I am sinking now as my legs are marched into the hallway. My body follows.

Photos of what look like a family litter the walls. I am central in most of them, surrounded by people I almost recognise. The memories rattle in my brain as my body is jerked sideways. The insides of my bones shake. Tired, I now am. My legs lead me to the door, where Adam greets me. His words echo inside my head but his lips do not move. He is yet to blink as my mouth ejects its words. Why would he freeze behind a frame? We are far too old for hide and seek. Laughable, Adam is. Older and wiser, he may claim. But he’d rather play games in frames than answer my calls. Mature? I think not. I step outside and breathe in no more air than I deserve. I crouch next to the grass. My whole garden is spinning around and around. What a beautiful flower. Pluck. What happens to the looks are stares when all beauty is gone? When we pluck ourselves apart and dissect? I feel sick now. My brain tells my legs to go back inside, they oblige. Smack. My nose collides with the taps and all my toes just tingle and smile. I fall into the sink and my eyelids drip down the plughole, sinking further into the sink than I have previously sunk. My vomit must stink as it stews in the sink with my bleach-burnt hair and fragile fingers, but with no one here to tell me that, all I can smell are Adam and his oranges.

My ankles trip over a bottle. How clumsy they are. The inhabitants of that small white bottle have emigrated into my stomach; they are building towns and taking comfort there. I don’t remember inviting them to the party but I am confused. My cutlery is now arranged on the tiles. I don’t know how long the knifes and forks have lay like that, but it must be my doing. I want to go outside, to dance in the rain but my limbs say “no”. My phone is ringing. I want now to answer it but won’t. The voices in my head are all screaming “no!” How nice of them to agree on something for once. My lungs are tired. My legs argue against the idea but my mouth insists on talking to the tiles, face down. Adam’s anti-depressants are still in my hand or maybe lodged beneath my lungs and I hear a laugh erupt from inside my own body. Depression had always been top of the long list of things Adam did better than I. But I will do dying better than he did. I expect to do it exceptionally well. There is water everywhere. Potentially, the taps are still on and running. Full blast. My body shakes itself, filled with exhaustion and boredom.

The bottle raises itself up to the light, preaches the instructions at me like the gospel and launches the medicating missiles straight down my throat.

The pills are swallowed with all the apologies I’d never quite spat out as the tears start to roll. Goodbyes normally haunted my heart, but somehow this one fills me with relief. Messages whisper themselves from my mouth- short letters to all the people I love, or think I do, I hope they can hear me. The air smells like nothing, the sobs sound nothing like my voice. Grey matter sets into the body that one was full of light. The tiles cling to me for comfort. Breathing almost ceases in the body I barely still own. I definitely may be dying now.

Can my heart feel itself failing?

Adam is going to kill me if he sees this. His voice seems to fill the room with the sound of ‘I love you’, but I think it is all in my head. Adam, you said suicide was a last resort. Understand that this is. Understand that this is the only way. The world stopped smelling like oranges and hope and so have I. I’m sorry, but how else do we forgive ourselves for all the things we do not become?

There is a knock at the door. The door is an eternity away, lodged somewhere in an infinity that I will now never reach. My lungs begin to sag. And I begin to-

Breaking News: Reece Hanson, 17, Found Dead At Family Home.


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Chloe Gainford

Chloe is 17 and British. On the rare occasion she's seen without a pen in hand, she's probably on the hunt for stronger coffee or dreaming about city lights. In 10 years time she hopes to be a published author or living it up in San Francisco. For all enquiries please contact: [email protected]