There are certain moments in your life that define you. A certain turning point that you never see coming but comes in waves and crashes and drowns you anyway. That moment when you stick both of your thumbs up at another bogey-nosed smiley kid in the playground and know that you are going to be friends for life; the moment when you run down the stairs taking two at a time and tear open that letter and scream because it will change the course of your life with a momentum as you could never have imagined it; that moment when you look up at the guy who casually walked into the room with a bright green t-shirt, Aztec cardigan and blue shorts in the middle of winter and you realise what you had always known to be true but didn’t believe it till that moment, at first sight. Those moments, when our sensory mind takes everything all in at once and you can only blink and breath and wait for the next moment to come, and carry you forward slowly. Time is captured in those small moments of greatness, in the goosebumps they ignite, in the scars that they inflict, in the despair that they provoke.
Ten years ago today, I see my breath condensing on the looking glass as I wave and mouth hello before walking away without knowing that a two short weeks later I would be sitting in the sunlight rocking in my chair my fingers numb from cold blood and writing the ending to my short life; my eyes foggy from being soaked in red tears and my soul empty and colliding with ghosts who told me they were people, now my past, in my dead present. Coming to say goodbye to the only person who loved me but I didn’t know how to love back. Why had they come? They don’t know her. They don’t know her like I do. I stuffed regret and memories and disdain, all of it, into a grey suitcase and shoved it under my bed. I felt nothing.
Five years later, I was back at the looking glass. Nothing had changed, apart from me. I was allowed inside the glass box this time. And I touched mortality first hand, for the second time. It was all I had left. The smile in his eyes, missing me at a distance. His guidance, nurturing me from afar. His presence, present in an inexplicable sense of safety. For a long while, I could only see the brown leaves on trees amongst the fading green ones, the back of the head before a chance for greeting, the sky as the grey pavement beneath my feet. And this time I couldn’t stuff it away. I tried, but there wasn’t a suitcase big enough to push the black hole into. So I let it consume me. I let all the moments define me, mutilate me; shelter me, defend me and forsake me.
But there is still a moment, that one significant piece that you keep separate from all the other pieces in the rectangular cardboard box; you put it away for safekeeping, because it is that defining moment that defines every other moment in your story. When you wake up in the morning and wonder if you can wear yourself well today, when you close your eyes on the train and wait for the voice that tells you to keep going, and when you lie awake at night and let all that matters slip away into dreams that could happen. Every single day. And when those moments come, which take you away from yourself and set you apart in galaxies light years away and you are nothing but a fragment in the black universe, it is that little piece that rescues you time and time again.