Unbeatable

“It’s just… so heavy,” I said, on the edge of tears. I said it again, staring him down imploringly across the void of experience. Waiting for the voltage of my grief to rack his body with violent realisation. But as we said in better times, I guess you had to be there.

It’s heavy, like the knot in my stomach when my own quiet breakdown came out in the wash. Letters home, stern questioning, months of halfhearted therapy. I was a standard procedure.

We knitted ourselves a new norm in that place, one that we couldn’t deviate far from. It was tense, and fraught with expectations that couldn’t meet our own, threads of ambition, tangled with neurons that acted against the book.

It’s heavy, like the sobriety with which we learned to share news of disrepair. That’s such a shame. She was doing so well. I hope she recovers soon. There were rumours that the staff room had a list on the wall – a ranking from most to least likely to break.

It’s heavy like the phone call, mere days from long-awaited reunion. The news that someone would be missing. That she would be missing for the rest of our days.

That she had finally fallen to the forces I thought we’d all made peace with. That it never really ends. That with all her unbeatable starts, she’s still finished.

I spent the last fortnight willing your madness onto me. Fumbling for some thread of your panic so you didn’t feel it alone. Waking with a start and wondering if I’d got the right words in the right order and somehow preserved you for one more night. Casting plans into sudden shades of loss and longing.

But we always agreed that we’d still choose Socrates dissatisfied, given our time again. Our wellbeing was just another Sisyphean stone that we rolled as we ascended into some semblance of grace, step by stumbling step.

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