I can almost remember happy.
Sad comes so often now it can’t qualify as visiting anymore. Like a violent lover he wraps one hand around my neck, choking the dull burning ache back down my throat and into my body.
The other hand goes around my mouth, index and thumb reaching up to the corners of my eyes and pulling the weakness from them.
As long as he keeps me quiet he can enjoy the weakness.
Anger is my twin in all ways but one, she’s seductive and smooth.
She walks like me, looks like me, thinks like me. And when she plops her words in my mouth, in that moment they feel right.
Inorganic foreign speech feels so much lighter on the tongue and you can tell the difference if you care enough to test it.
But that’s what makes Anger worse than Sad, where he is forceful she is giving.
She doesn’t offer anything I won’t readily take.
Anger is a drug. And I am weak.
Pain is their child. Sitting on my shoulders.
Pain whisperers all day, observations, promises, reminders.
Pain promises not to lie.
We both see the crossed fingers and say nothing.
Pain is a confidant. Pain is real.
Loneliness is never far. He has a real penchant for shadow puppets. He holds his fingers just right and all the people disappear.
No matter how close or far. They’re gone. He and Pain tell me it’s better this way.
I believe them
Sometimes I almost remember Happy.
It’s worse that way. To almost have memories. To be teased with mismatched images through ripples and glass. To know there was something better and that it left.
But Pain says everything leaves.
I believe it
Happy left a gift when she went. Sad told me to let him take care of it. When he takes his hand off my mouth he uses it to pull the corners up.
He carefully crafts the encouraging words, he sculpts the wit, he carves the humor.
And when the watching eyes are gone he puts it away and replaces his hand.
And Pain says it’s better not to bother the eyes.
I believe that
There are others of course. They come and go.
They wait for their trains and leave.
Love is around.
But she’s only just a little thing and she can’t hardly be heard over the trains sometimes.
Other days she gives Sad a run for his money.
But she is one of a matching pair and one shoe is hardly any good without the other. So you leave it in the closet until you find the sole mate.
Or you give up looking.
Sad keeps Hope in a room I’ve never seen but Pain says that Fear keeps watch.
She is either a terrible guard or Sad enjoys playing the game.
Hope is quite the daring escape artist. He fancies himself a real action hero. He asks the eyes for help, they watch and watch and wait.
Fear takes him back, Sad reaches for the gift.
The eyes turn away and Pain tells me to remember that for next time. Pain says that it’s easy to deceive the uninvested. They have no stakes in the game.
I believe this
Sometimes I wonder how much more Hope can take before he decides to leave too.
Pain says the real estate isn’t worth fighting that hard for.
I believe it all
Anyway. Sometimes I can remember Happy. I’ll wish she hadn’t gone, I’ll wish that she would come back instead of the artificial recordings.
But mostly I wish I had never known her at all.