Several days passed, then two weeks, two and a half, a month... and I was still alive, not only alive, but no longer continually trying to think of a way to die.

In only a month I had already adjusted to my given daily schedule at Shadyside, already grown accustomed to the other patients, even Zara and her sometimes caustic personality. I was beginning to notice the little mannerisms about the others that made them seem more real and alive, like actual people- Lane's way of hiding anger with absurd cheer, Julianna's trust in Ariadne and no others, Miguel's habit of ducking his head when he saw Zara and Xander together...

Zara had loosened up her attitude towards me a little, now smiled at me sometimes, teased me in her Zara way, tried to include me in conversations, although she knew I seldom spoke casually to anyone. She was also fiercely protective of me and the other girls, when Slater, who was a sex maniac, tried anything. She even yelled at Xander, her boyfriend, a few times for saying mean things about me. I had observed somewhat reluctantly by then, that once she chilled out a little, she really was an attractive girl, even under the Gothic attire.

I'd had to go to group sessions every day and individual therapy as well, being made to talk about myself and my cutting, made to talk about Madrigal... it was almost impossible at first, is still incredibly hard now, but it's getting easier. I didn't want to talk at all at first. It would feel like betraying Madrigal, to tell of things only between the two of us, and besides, it didn't matter- I didn't need to try to sort anything out, to feel better, I didn't want to feel better. But as Naomi spoke to me about other things, she'd somehow sneak the stilted conversation back to me, to Madrigal, and I'd be talking about her without even realizing it. Now, I"m starting to see that it makes me feel better to talk about her, even when it hurts...

I don't know... I don't think that I could kill myself now, after all the talking with Naomi, and getting used to everyone. I don't think I could disappoint them, even though I sometimes think by not dying I am disappointing Madrigal. Naomi tells me that I'm not, that if Madrigal really loved me, she would want me to be happy, want me to live. But sometimes I can't help but feel so guilty to know I survived when she did not..

I do'nt think I"m exactly suicidal right now, it's more of an ambivalence towards life and death. I'm ready to die, if my time should come, but I guess I"m okay with living for right now too- at least as okay with it as I'll ever be, if Madrigal can't be alive as well. It scares me sometimes, how used to living I am now...

I've even spoken to Julie and Alliance a few times on the phone... they haven't visited me yet, but who knows, they may one day. I can't hate them, not really, can't even blame them for all that happened, for trying to keep us apart. I remember my grandfather, Julie's dad, the way the mistrusted anyone who was different- be it gays, blacks, Asians, or flamboyant dressers- and I know Julie really can't help the way she is. She doesn't know how else to be- I feel sorry for her in a way, for her own ignorance. I think she really does love me in her own way, really thinks she's doing what's best for me. And Alliance- she's eleven years old, easily bent in her thinking. Maybe one way I can change her views to fit mine.

I'm disgusted with myself in one way, in that I recently started to watch another patient in a little more than idle curiosity...this boy Joel, he's a recovering agoraphobic. He's sweet, and really smart- and- cute, in a strange way. I feel guilty, furious with myself for noticing, like by observing this, thinking this, I am betraying Madrigal, loving her less, forgetting her... I would never do anything with Joel, of course. He's not Madrigal, he's nowhere near what Madrigal as to me... but still, I've noticed him. It scares me, and yet somehow gives me a strange feeling of hope...

Madrigal... everything about my thoughts of her are still so complicated. I can feel again now, my initial numbness toward everything is gone, and I feel my love for her, my pain over her suicide, so vividly. It hurts so badly that sometimes I think I cannot endure it; and yet the pain is a relief, it feels good to feel, even anguish. Somehow, feeling grief and pain for her helps me to feel a little better.

I miss her so much, want her back so badly- and yet sometimes I'm so angry, almost hate her for dying, for leaving me, giving up. And then I feel so ashamed- how could I feel angry at her for doing the very thing I wanted so much to do when she first died- still wished to at times? How could I condemn her for feelings that I shared? I loved her so much- that should excuse all of her flaws and weaknesses, should leave no room for anger with her..

Naomi tells me it's okay to be angry, that it's normal, healthy, but I don't know... I"m still learning to distinguish between what's normal and what isn't. She tells me that Madrigal's and my relationship with each other was not healthy, that we affected each other negatively, encouraged each other's disturbed behaviors... I"m trying to be objective, trying to see from her point of view, but it's hard. It's hard to believe that love can be unhealthy.

She says that neither of us were bad girls, but at that fragile, disturbed point of our lives, we were bad for each other- that even if we loved each other, it hurt us mentally and physically to be together. She says there is nothing wrong with bisexuality, but regardless of the sex of the person I choose to date, I have to choose to be in a relationship that is healthy mentally for me. I don't know... I guess, I guess I understand, but it's really hard for me to accept, after everything that went on.

Ever since my emotions returned, I"ve been wanting more and more to cut myself- out of stress, out of anger, sadness- I want in some way to feel close to Madrigal again, to bond with her now... I haven't done it yet, but sometimes I wonder if I will always be able to fight back. Naomi says it's something I have to learn to want, to fight against... I apparently have a lot to learn.

Part of me still loves Madrigal so fiercely, never wants to let go, never wants to give her up... but another part of me is coming alive again, beginnign to notice other people, like Joel, even if I would never act upon my notice. But no matter how many months pass, I don't think I will ever be able to completely let go of Madrigal or my love for her- even if I should ever want to.

Sometimes, however, I think that maybe one day will pass, one whole day, where Madrigal will not come to my mind. The very thought terrifies me, fills me with guilt and shame... and yet, I wonder what it would be like to live through such a day. But until then, I remember her.

The other day it occurred to me that Madrigal's name had meaning as well, like my name, like Alliance's. And its meaning, a beautiful form of a song, is so appropriate...

Madrigal... the song in my heart, in my soul... bringing me such joy, even among such sorrow...

the end