Forever Writing About One Moment

Hello, folks – Intern Joshua, here! Hoping everyone had a peaceful Thanksgiving. Hard to believe that just one more blog post from Kristen stands between us and the winter break!

For almost two years, I’ve been writing the same story. I’ve been trying to capture one day – one moment – on a page.

I’ve been trying to exactly articulate what three knocks on a bedroom door at two-thirty in the morning sounds like. The way the futon dips as my father sits on the edge of the mattress; the vibrato in his voice as he’s speaking; the way I don’t remember him leaving the room.

The weakness in my legs when I try to stand – the one you feel the day before you get the flu. Or when you have your first kiss.

I’ve been trying to describe the inexplicable tremor in my hands as I reach for the doorknob. The unanticipated wall of silence I walked face first into, after having grown accustomed to – comfortable with – the cadence of an oxygen tank; the mini-explosions. The uninterrupted hum.

The way time moves. When I took the first step into the last room she ever was. When for a moment, in my peripherals, I saw her. When for a split-second I convinced myself I was strong enough to hold back the tears, until I looked directly at her and remembered I’m not.

The way the hospital bed dipped as I sat on the edge of the mattress. The way I put my forehead against hers. The way I kissed her cheek; still warm. The way I used my sleeve to wipe away the residue of tears I’d left.

The look on my brother’s face when he saw her for the first time; when he saw her for the last time.

When I saw her for the last time.

Some days I can’t write about it, knowing that allowing myself to relive the feelings will make the rest of the day impossible. So I’ll write about anything else.

Some days I can’t remember. Some days I can’t identify the feelings I had. Some days I’m completely numb. Some days I can remember. Some days the memory scares me, and I’m a kid again, wishing I could run barefoot down the hall in my onesie at midnight and nestle between Mom and Dad.

Some days I can’t picture her. I can’t hear her. My subconscious takes her voice and garbles it; her face and blurs it – maybe protecting me from the world of hurt I’ll experience when I do see her. Or when, once again, I can’t.

I’ve realized that this is something that I’m going to be writing about for the rest of my life, whether directly or indirectly. It’s something that I won’t be able to articulate and represent accurately until I can make complete sense of it, which is an absolute impossibility. Because when you experience trauma, it never makes sense.

Someone once said to me, there are two types of people: there are those who believe that everything happens for a reason. Then there are those who believe that nothing does – that we just have to try to make sense of it all. Whether or not I’m able to, writing is how I make sense of things. Sometimes a page is all I need to understand something. But sometimes I need an infinite amount of pages. Some things I’ll never understand.

What have you been writing about?

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