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Stories From the Edge of Blindness

In 2002, Retinitis Pigmentosa changed my life. This is my story of a slow approach to darkness.

Month

October 2021

Storm

There is a storm in my head, a rage that chokes me, imminent disaster that pricks the tip of my tongue. My skin is so heavy, scratchy like a blanket in the heat, filthy with the detritus of hiding inside it for too long. These are the days I want to scream and run into the mouth of the sun, burn the pain until it is ash that can be carried away in the wind. I am trapped in a mind that can’t forgive, behind eyes plunged into darkness by a laundry list of disease, under the relentless thumb of depression. I write from this place for relief, catharsis, but also as a looking glass, a pinhole into unexplainable sadness. If you have been here, you have tasted the heart of the storm; if you haven’t, maybe what I write, while in the grip of the disease, will help paint a picture. Maybe I am just a self serving asshole, stuck at seventeen, unable to move beyond loss. Most likely none of it matters, not the words or the feelings or the bruises I inflict on myself.

As I tried to fall asleep last night, images of the last time I saw my mother came into my mind; I felt terrified and anxious, as if the memories were needles under my skin. I begged my mind to shut the images off, to let me sleep. I took a Xanax. I thought about taking a hundred Xanax. I can’t remember how long it took to fall asleep.

Today I couldn’t move, couldn’t do the everyday things, simple things, brushing teeth, combing hair, making tea. I felt deep hatred for myself. I wished I could disappear into a place so quiet and a body so tiny, no one would ever be able to find me. I lost all direction and forgot to feel time passing over me. It rained all day. I closed the curtains to block out the sun.

Tonight I am awake, unable to sleep, again. I can feel my heart breaking, falling into a chaotic rhythm that will shake me with brutal force. I am terrified to lie down; it’s worse when I lie down. I feel as if every part of me is defective, failing, a reminder of my weakness. Perhaps I showed up too late, for dreams and joy and the happy ending we are all supposed to be searching for. I wonder how long it will take to fall asleep tonight…..

Shades of Bleak

The darkness is swallowing me up again. I exist in a confined space, one part sadness, the other anger; sometimes the two become indistinguishable. I am a flame of rage in a freezing wind, burning and extinguished. I am a hollowed out heart, a fade to grey, a bird who forgot she ever wanted to fly. Even in the greenest of pastures, the bleak shades of my nature take over and I wonder why sorrow is the language I know best, why the fire dies inside me every time I begin to feel even the slightest glimmer of warmth. I am selfish, ungrateful, vision narrow, hands like ice. Hope has no colour here, no texture or sound.

I am a sliver of bone on a quest for escape, greed in a cruel fist, a lie that waits at the back of the throat. I pop pills, drown in booze, tie myself up in knots that always unfurl. I am steps never taken and a road grown over with brambles. I am the thorn in a dark night, unkind laughter, vapid tongue. I try so hard to become fiction, to become wind, to become the storm.

I still allow myself to wonder, does the uncovering of darkness shed light? Can wings grow if they have never known the sky? Tonight, I wait for the rain to cleanse me, or perhaps just wash me away.

Convenient Truths by Susan Richardson

I am over the moon to be a part of MasticadoresIndia! Huge thanks to editor Terveen Gill for bringing me into the fold of her incredible journal!

MasticadoresIndia // Editora: Terveen Gill

A collage of mouths wide open with teeth showing and a display of rage
Image Source: Snappa

She is a tapestry of fiction,

a cloak constructed from convenient truths.

Her sentiment slithers,

a hissing whisper in my ear,

dripping in strands of insincerity

that creep down my neck.

Her memories are fabrications,

shoved into the back of her mouth

to keep the truth from coming out.

A vain attempt

at gobbling up sorrow for herself.

I stand in the shadow of grief,

eyes filling with tears,

fury pulsing in my clenched fists.

She bleats emotion,

takes possession of emptiness,

puncturing the air with the razored sting

of a woman seasoned at doling out deceit.

She forgets I was there,

when she said my father

was no longer a person,

forgets he tried to escape

the battering crunch of her insults,

as his mind grew pale,

paper thin.

I feel the anger in my teeth now,

composure stitched to my lip,

trying to break free.

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