The room was dark, only illuminated by the amber light burning out below amid the snow drifting down like linen sheets blown by the wind. The music emanating from my vinyl player was soft, like whispers passed in secrecy, as I watched the smoke curl upward and spread itself against the night sky from the building across the street.
And even though the music, the chimney smoke, and the darkness was all very comforting, I was sad for a reason that was as tangible as the smoke rising to meet the clouds.
But whatever was I sad about?
I asked myself that as I lay in bed, the sheets stuffy and imprisoning, as a deep ache roamed around in my chest. I was sad. But as I thought that the only thing that could come to mind was that I shouldn't let father know that. For one, father thought that feeling sad meant discontent with what you have and that was selfish and that was not right. Father was a very righteous man. Father was also very dead.
It was a strange expression, being very dead, but one that explained my father well. He has been dead for a year. He was dead while he was alive, if that even makes sense. Father was a dead man, from start to finish.
I turned the vinyl player up louder.
My mother must have seen my father alive at some point. My mother fell in love with him. That means he wasn't always dead. Wasn't always staring at you like you weren't there, or alive, wasn't listening when you called his name, when you screamed it. That means he wasn't always stumbling through the front door drunk, then leaving drunk, then coming back in. That means he wasn't always so sad.
So, so sad.
Sad enough to cry when he thought I couldn't hear through the thin walls. He was sad enough to not eat, or sleep, for days.
Was that my fault?
I tuned the vinyl player up even louder.
Mother used to hunch over with laughter as she talked about his wild college days where he swept her off her feet. He used to wind his arm around her as he smiled, his eyes bright as I tried to remember what 'college' meant at seven years old.
But then I grew up.
I learned how to drive.
Mother drove with me as I went to buy her a birthday cake the day she turned forty.
It was a rainy Tuesday and the roads were slippery.
I crashed the car into a tree.
The world was spinning and the road was wet. I was losing control and there was screaming, it was all very loud as I realized that I was bloody and there were sirens. Someone was crying for their mother and I was pulled out of the car with my arm bending at a weird angle. The hospital smelled like death and hopelessness and I remember crying as I saw father walk through the doors, but he didn't come for me even though I screamed his name. He walked towards a gurney covered in a white sheet and crumpled like a used napkin as he peeled back the sheet.
Mother was dead too.
Yes, that was when father died. He died when mother did.
I turned the vinyl player up even more.
I made father sad. Sad enough to hate me. Sad enough to send me to an aunt who hates me even more than he did. Sad enough to hang from the ceiling fan as I went to grab my last bag of clothing from the place I used to call home.
The music was much louder now, the song reverberating in my bones.
There is so much of everything in such a broken heart
That it is a miracle really, how it could still pump blood
But at the same time it is sad
How hard it must work to stick together when all it really wants is to fall apart
I was crying now.
But if it falls apart
Will it ever fall together?
People don't like broken things when whole ones are so much better
I caused so much sadness.
So I guess I'm on my own
With a perfectly broken heart
A needle in one hand, thread in the other
I watched the smoke rise up and wished it took me with it.
But the needle is an anchor; it drowns me out at sea
The thread is a rope, it doesn't let me free
How could I have forgotten all of this? I blast the vinyl up more, hoping it drowns the sad, the ache.
Now my heart floats in the sky, where it will fall back down
I'm floating too, now, with no net on the ground
I'm at Aunt Patiet's home, my now legal guardian. How could I have forgotten?
Now I'm falling, falling, falling
It feels like flying now,
Said the evil angels, their screams their only sound.
I am an evil angel. My scream isn't nearly as loud as the sound of my tears hitting the ground though.
There is so much of everything,
when you're trying to stop the tears
trying not to give in,
trying not to fear
I make no noise as I walk over to the vinyl player. I make plenty of noise though as I knock it to the ground in one clean swing. The thing crashes and the music stops short.
I folded in on myself the same way my father did. I let myself sob.
The sobbing didn't stop even as the chimney stopped smoking, the streetlight burned out, and the snow stopped falling.
The sobbing didn't stop even though the tears did.