The Texts We Save When People We Love Die

Have you ever read a text from a dead boy? It’s depressing shit. Not the death part. That’s unbearable. That’s a poison in your veins that clogs your arteries and stops your heart for brief, endless moments where you wonder if breathing is really reflexive at all because it feels very impossible at the moment.

Unbearable is when you can’t think past the pain, because there’s just too much of it. The pain spreads like a cancer, starting in your lungs, metastasizing to your heart and brain until it’s inoperable. Terminal. You’re sure if it.

Anyway… Premortem text messages. Depressing shit. Maybe it’s depressing because you’re reading the sarcastic banter of the only guy in your life who ever had a choice in loving you, and did so with the kind of shameless conspicuity that made you uncomfortable. That made you shut down and build nice, sturdy walls to shut him out.

Okay, so maybe “love” is a little arrogant. Maybe at best he tolerated you. Even still, he did so completely. Totally. In that type of shamelessly conspicuous way that makes you uncomfortable.

But, like I was saying, text messages. They’re really depressing because you have to read them yourself. Through your very inadequate consciousness that can’t quite get the tone right. Can’t quite find the right pitch for that hint of sarcasm in his voice. You’re projecting old, stale memories on words that are just words. They’re just words, probably chosen thoughtlessly and thrown together as if by reflex. You’re projecting. You’re doing your best.

And so these texts, depressing as they are, hold so much meaning. They’re just words. But they’re all you have left. And they very well may have been a few of his very last thoughtlessly constructed sentences before death became an entirely, immediately relevant conscious thought, and not just one of the many worries poeticized in the late night ramblings of a gorgeous 22 year-old boy.

You sit in a hospital waiting room, waiting impatiently for one tiny little life to begin, unaware that another slips by violently, unwillingly in the night. You have no clue. One chamber of your heart flickers bright, while another shadows over, dripping poison thick and dark like sap through your veins. You won’t know for a week. Retrospectively, your heart was pumping too slowly. You should’ve known sooner.

And you won’t attend the funeral because funerals only comfort the living. Besides, deteriorating in that way is best done in solitude.

So you sit and reread those text messages. All of them, from beginning to end. So mad that the only life they hold is that which you can project. So pissed at yourself for accidentally deleting the first of them, from four years ago, back when you had plenty of time for coy elusiveness. Back when you didn’t have to admit that you loved him, too. At the very least, you tolerated him thoroughly.

And you read them over as his birthday passes. Once more almost a year after the poison set in, reveling in how alive you both must have been back then. In how much life is actually required for the mundane task of cooking spaghetti or watching bad movies or understanding someone much more deeply than they gave you permission to. For metastasizing yourself throughout someone else’s life.

You read these texts nearly a year later. Depressing shit, for sure. You thought you’d gotten through the worst of it. It felt like remission. It spreads to your hands and they shake as you finally, after ten months, find your words long enough to scribble manically on the page of a journal.

They’re so goddamn depressing. And, as you write, your mind drifts musingly, with pity and deep sorrow for the next boy who may invest in the business of loving you. Or, you know, at the very least, tolerating you completely. Because these texts have yet to be deleted. And despite the tears lost, there are so many more to be shed. And despite much evidence to the contrary, there is still much left of that beautiful boy undead.

Depressing shit, the texts of a boy very wholly tolerated. Even more so are those of a boy quite probably loved. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

featured image – 20th Century Fox/YouTube

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