The darkly painted boards of the deck feel warm from spending the day soaking up the sun. Your feet pad softly to the edge of the balcony and as you lean gently against the railing you slowly survey the land spread out before you. It’s a quiet evening, cooling down as a few stray leaves trickle down from the trees on the first day of autumn. Even though that morning the maple trees had been a luscious green, by the time sunset had lazily come around the leaves waving in the light breeze had turned a golden brown as though the sunlight itself had been captured in a thousand tiny prisons. Light pinks and oranges dance across the sky as the sun settles itself beneath its covers of earth and trees. It was a stark contrast from the other trees who had yet to shed their summer colors, proudly displaying the varying shades of green that had been bestowed upon them in the spring. Spanish moss swung delicately from the branches like wind chimes that a select few could hear. The ground was a rich black from the early morning rain that had pattered against the skylights as if politely asking for shelter from the cool leftover night breeze.
You hear a slight creak of the boards behind you right before you feel a pair of arms wind their way around your waist. A kiss so tender you barely notice it is placed upon the base of your neck. The scent of mint and rosemary wafts to you and the corners of your mouth lift slightly into a smile barely noticeable to just about everyone. The smile that everyone else got to see was the fake one, the one that hid all the pain, and the guilt, and the emotional scars you rarely reveal to anyone.
“I see you smiling, you know,” you hear in a teasing tone. You immediately exaggerate the smile and allow yourself to turn towards the voice.
“Of course I’m smiling, when don’t I?” you ask in a similar tone, though this one is tinged with darkness. You immediately wince as the smile from his face fades as he knows you well enough to know all of what you imply with a few words.
“Why don’t you smile like that more often? Why do you hide it away when I catch you?” he asks, each word more and more desperate for an answer than the last. You contemplate a moment and the smile you wear fades into a grim line.
Your eyes brighten the moment before you whisper, “Because I save my smiles for when I think about the people I love. I hide it away because it makes everything that much more special.” The smile returns to his face but it flickers the way a candle does in a damp cave. You can tell he wants to believe your answer but can’t decide if he should press you for more. When another moment passes you offer him the best smile you can muster in the moment as you turn to walk down the steps of the deck and sit on the aged swing. You push off the swing ever so slightly as you look up into the leaves and close your eyes as the last of the light fades from the sky.
You stay like this for some time until you feel a touch on your bare feet. He sits in front of you now, peering up at you through thick lashes. “I want to make you smile like that always. I want you to make every moment special with your smile.” You start to smile until your thoughts cloud over with the darkness that constantly echoes in your mind. You want so badly to smile at him, but that in itself would be a lie, and you would never lie to him
Your Sweet Assassin
Take a moment to imagine a classroom filled with people, whatever age is close to you. There might be someone obnoxiously loud. There is the person who always answers all the questions in a whisper from the back of the class. The guy who cracks all the jokes. The girl who never says anything unless she has to. They might get on your nerves a little. Okay, maybe a lot. Just keep this classroom in mind as you read.
The official medical definition for depression is: two or more weeks of extreme sadness. And I’m not talking about being sad because you got a bad grade, or you lost your wallet. I’m talking about barely functioning throughout the day, allowing people to talk to you without giving much in response, and eventually receding into yourself only to hear your thoughts echo off the hollow space where something inside yourself should be.
Depression is like heading into the ocean before a hurricane strikes, and all the seas are churned up. You can hear people calling your name behind you, and for a split second you turn around, just a second. You just want to tell them that you are okay, that you don’t want them to worry. And they hear you. They believe you. And you watch their backs as they turn to walk back up the beach. But as soon as you turn around to face the ocean once more, a wave slaps you in the face. It knocks you off your feet and under the water dragging you down, farther and farther. It makes your eyes water, stings the back of your throat, and tastes bitter in your mouth. And at first you fight, oh you fight so hard. Flailing your arms, kicking back to the surface, screaming as soon as you break the surface just for a moment before it swamps you again. After a while though, all you want to do is get out of the water and follow your friends. But by now the hurricane is so close, and you can’t see which way is shore when you get your head above the water because of the pouring rain. And some people can’t find their way out of the storm, and I pray for their souls. But finally you can realize how to get out of the storm. You have to tell yourself, “I can stand up, right here, right now.” You have to tell yourself, “I will see the shore. I will walk up the beach.” You have to make the ocean of emotions raging around inside obey what YOU want to feel. You are capable of doing whatever it is that needs to get done. This doesn’t mean you never ask for help, or that you shouldn’t tell people you trust. You should always tell someone. And sometimes they’ll listen, sometimes they won’t. But as one of my best friends told me, “People are either a blessing or a lesson.”
Remember the classroom we thought about earlier? Well the brutal truth is this: they all have a problem that makes them act that way. The really loud one? She’s in an abusive relationship and can’t get out. The one who always answers in a whisper from the back of the class? His parents just got a divorce and his alcoholic dad blames him for it. The guy who makes all the jokes? He’s been carted around his extended family all his life because his house burned down when he was a kid. The girl who you forgot was in the class because she’s so quiet? She’s too busy fighting her way out of depression to participate. So what do you think now? Did they really annoy you, or were you just judging them without considering what kind of evil they battle on a daily basis?
“The ones who can laugh the loudest can cry the hardest.”
Your Sweet Assassin