Attrition

I remember that night as I remember no other – it stands out among the rest like the red of blood against the downy fabric of a white dress. For it was the first night I considered my Death, gave it a thought – when they told me you had left, my dove. No less, those moments were to me like death itself – hearing that you were gone. I was never again to behold your bright, breathtaking face; never again were you to sneak your way onto my balcony and steal kisses from my waiting, craving lips until they bruised with the force of love; never again were you to console my worries with the tender passions of love. Breath would not pass my lips, like a fallen angel denied entrance to heaven. Thoughts were a messy whirl in my head, like a furious tempest relentlessly assaulting the oceans and stirring them about like a pot of water boiling on a stove. Emotions were like daggers to my chest – not unlike the one lodged deep into my heart now, allowing all my love to spill forth with my lifeblood; each one sundered me into mere fragments and beat the fragments until they were dust, to be scattered about, until I was broken to the point of no return.

But death is remarkably nothing like I'd expected. The blade is lodged in my chest and I can feel it in the frisson of pain, but that is fading as everything blurs. I feel no pain in my heart. I am content, I am filled to the brim with love, and it spills forth from my chest and soaks the front of my dress – red, a startling contrast to the snowy white of the fabric. Blood which my family has spilled for yours in hate, that which I now spill for you in love, beloved.

I'd always imagined that I would be so blatantly unprepared for death, and that I would be trying to fight it with the last remaining strength of my breath. Desperation would be my last feeling; fury towards the wetness seeping through the front of my dress and dampening cold, sweat-slicked skin. Tears would spill from my eyes, my last diamond contribution to the world. Breaths would be hurried and short, my last attempt at staying alive – for if I can keep breathing, I may remain alive. Although, that is not so – when you were gone, I breathed still, but I was dead for you, dead for love.

But I'm content. I died for you. I die for you. Because I love you, and because I love you still, and because I will love you, I shall die, and eagerly I shall die.

I can hear Death as he approaches me, as I lay on this white vestal bed. His footsteps are mere whispers – he glides – but all is fading, all is clearer now. He draws close, and I can feel death at the edge of my mind, ready to seep its way in through the rapidly spreading holes – like cracks in a pane of glass, unable to bear the weight of life any longer. Death is cold, dark, silent, lonely, but still I love you.

I can feel his cold, bony hands slipping themselves into mine;,still warm with the warmth stolen from your cheeks, jealous of that warmth – the one thing Death himself can never have. I can sense the icy wind that pulsates from him creeping down my spine like the spindly limbs of an insect walking about with the finest, lightest of steps – not breaths, for indeed Death does not breathe, but the merest emission of sorrow emanating from that part of him which retains the faintest vestiges of humanity. I can feel as Death lifts me from this soft bed of flowers and silks – now a ghostly, human sensation that slowly abates as the ebbing tide pulls me away from the shore and out to the endless cerulean sea of eternity. He cradles me close like a coveting lover and twirls me around in a sweet, macabre waltz. Death is morose, silent, but his eyes say it all.

I can almost pity Death, for his plight is the most grim of all. It is more grim than mine, more grim than yours. We may think ours is the worst, but that is a subjective thought made to console the weak, insecure parts of ourselves that fear Death and standing before him to face him. But never can we know, as Death knows, the true sorrow that comes with the end of life.

Sorrow. Sorrow, sorrow, peace. Release. Freedom, like the poison on your lips, or the dagger in my heart. But maybe it wasn't the poison on your lips that killed you, killed me. Long before that we were poisoned – indeed, we'd drank from a chalice filled with the poison of love long ago, until it had seeped through every centimetre of our veins like adrenaline, filling us with vigour and energy and youth, until suddenly we were plunging towards the bottom. Like the most saccharine absinthe made from the most sultry anise, so sweet and decadent and deadly.

I long for a moment of clarity in which everything is lucid, everything is clearly underlined in distinct colours, everything makes sense, everything fits into place. I long for a moment of clarity in which I see everything at once, and yet clear my mind and leave it with nothing. I long for a moment of clarity in which I may consider my love for you, in which I may cry over it and joy in it and despise it and embrace it. I long for a moment of clarity in which everything is nothing but warmth, in which love is that which compels my limbs and drives the wanderings of my soul.

Only death can give me this. And love – but they killed our love. We killed our love. We killed ourselves so that we could love in death.

I'll love you still in hell, if Death drags us down to perdition to atone for our sins: for perfidy, for disobedience, for love. That which is the greatest of human sins – to love, to desire, to feel. That which is our unique curse, our personal haunt, that which is our greatest attrition.

I'll love you still in heaven, if our dearest Father vaunts our souls high above the ground which doth corrode away at them, high up to rest among the clouds of the heavens. If our beloved Lord does give us the permit of angels, hard earned by devotion and determination, to soar above all known and unknown of wings lifted by the winds of love which doth roil in our hearts and sweep us off our feet – caught, like leaves in interminable roundels, into the maelstrom.

Love is a pair of wings that lifts us high off the ground. They are primitive wings, going back to the beginning of time, to the beginning of life. And like the most primitive wings of Daedalus and Icarus, they are magnificent feats, yet fragile. Love is a daring pair of wings, and sometimes raises the lovers too close to the sky until the wax melts, drop by drop, and the feathers fall, one by one, to the ground below. Love smashes against the ground, too far gone to ever be recovered.

They say the last thing one thinks of before a night's rest will be the one thing they dream of. Let me think of you until my eyes do flutter shut – for this one final time, no less – so I can dream of you in all eternity, in my final, infinite slumber. That way I'll know my afterlife and evermore will be peaceful, restful, will be a heaven to me even if Death does indeed consign me to hell – although, I must admit, that would be an unkind reparation for all the grief I have wrought in my life.

Death has one final present for the dead, before they are forced to spend eternity atoning for their sins – and truly, humans are sinful creatures. Death has one last moment of clarity before we cease to know and simply fade. Some are too wrapped in their misery to see it, but I want to find it. I'm horrendously erroneous, clouded by our love, I know, but any clarity would make up for being dragged to the hottest levels of hell. To love you with pain.

Living is like walking through paradise on shards of broken glass. We live life pretending that it's something else. Only now, after I am dying – dead – do I realise that I was alive. Only in love were we allowed to forget that we had to pretend in order to live – or to die. Only in love were we lifted above the binds of life; only in love could the impossible seem true; only in love could hope feel as real as our touch. Mine, only in love with you did I ever for a second forget what I had to remember to forget.

Lift me from these unhallowed grounds. Release me from these mortal tethers that chain me to this ground, thick and volatile as quicksand, and equally adept at consuming away my soul. Still my breath so that silence can descend around me so that I may hear the songs of life, the calming truth of stillness. Blur my vision so that I may look past the visible and see beyond my eyes. Silence my mind so that I may let the tide carry me away without a struggle.

Please, Death, I call, the fire burning in my eager eyes – but Death just bows his head with the moans and sighs of the infinite Death has led away; he levels eyes of knowing sorrow, of forgiving grief, and clasps my fingers tighter. The coolness of his insubstance washes away the last of my warmth, the last of my hope. There is no return from death – one can dig up a grave, but never can he empty a coffin. The second I realise it, he will lead me away, and we will be parted, banished from the mortal world to anoint ourselves in an inhuman realm, one greater than we can ever know – because in death, we cease to know. We simply are.

I love you. I'm starting to see it. Our love made me see it.

My love, I tried, harder than you could ever imagine – believe me, I tried. Even in death, I'm still trying. My love, all I merely wanted was to be with you.

To be with you.

To be with you.

How presumptuous of us to assume that it takes romance to be. How weak and dependent of us such that we cannot think ourselves alive unless we can share the same skies or trade words laden with succulence or do with lips that which words cannot fully convey. How selfish of us to put all our dependency on the other and expect him to carry all our heart as well as his own. And yet, how disgustingly, shockingly true. Love is a pair of wings that lifts us high in the sky – many will crash, as humans are not meant to fly. But some will cross the oceans to the paradise beyond its tumultuous breakers, and they are the angels alight.

We crashed – indeed, we didn't fly at all, but merely glided. But at least our feet left the ground. I know that's what Death wants me to see. My love, I have had my moment of clarity. You are my moment.

My love, but to die with you.