Almost 4 years now / by Ailsa Fineron

This is a piece about one of my close friends dying. TW: death, eating disorder and depression mention. Take care of yourself, loves.

Almost 4 years now since you expanded and exploded. Blew up into an opaque balloon of disbelief and then popped and erupted and spread ash across the sky. Cast a shadow across our worlds so huge nothing else mattered. Almost 4 years now since your presence spread across my whole existence because you had stopped living. 

Emptiness has a gift for filling you up. Seeking out cracks in skin you thought was whole and slipping in, freezing, growing, forcing you open whilst icing you over, cold. I remember the day you died the sun kept on shining, callous. I could feel my skin warming and freckling when it should have been marble. Heavy and unmoving. Wanted to be stone. Let them lay me down and carve into me all the life you lived. Let me never forget. Engrave us on the one who's left behind. When others hold my hand, run their fingers through my hair, let them feel the words you left on me. Ask about you, about us.

Give me the opportunity to tell them it was you who taught me how to talk on the phone for hours. Pissing off our parents as we laughed to express sadness. About your sarcasm and sweetness. Your intelligence and wonderful politics. The education you gave me in friendship and strength and not being so strong. How we dealt with depression and eating disorders alone but side by side. Holding hands clutching at telephone wires.  You were only ever young.

Now I'm older and I'm feeling lost without you. Miss being lost with you. Nearly 4 years on and there are times when I forget you. Because I have to. The first few weeks you were always with me. Your death made you omnipresent, always in my head, watching over me. The first few months I remembered you every day. Now we're past the first few years and I still remember you but so often you are silent in my mind. Because the world didn't stop when you died. And only a close few shivered in that shadow you cast. You were a universe and a moment in one small human. And though we screamed and I could've scrawled on the sky in storm clouds your name and my grief, the world didn't stop, didn't blink. And I'm still angry about it. And I still don't know have an answer. 

And those memories we grew in ourselves, planted in the space where we overlapped, cut into soft skin with things we shouldn't have seen. These are still scars you can see in certain phases of the moon. Flowers that bloom on your birthday, on the dates we birthed ourselves. But I can't remember your favourite joke anymore. Your face is smudged with tears and time and I can't smell you in the air at all. I miss you but there's no you to say you miss me too.

Almost 4 years now and you're bigger and smaller than ever. I still hold your hand sometimes but it's 4 years younger. Wish I could've seen how you'd grown. Wish you could've watched how I've changed. Wish we could've continued making the world better. Wish more than anything I could give you life again. 

And my world's still moving even as I'm still within it. So much bigger than me. Huge oceans whose tides keep turning. And sometimes you are silent and non existent but not today. And I'm happy I knew you, to know you, but why didn't you stay? My world didn't stop but so often it falters. Now I'm drowning and floating: not hitting the ground but unable to breathe in water.