Sometimes, if you look closely, you can see my silhouette in the snow globe on your bedroom shelf. In those moments, I am a stick figure tugging at the edges of your vision, a spectral being you are sure is not really there. You blame my existence on an overactive imagination.
You take your pills.
I observe from my place in this molded replica of Paris, standing beneath the prongs of the Eiffel Tower, an ephemeral gray shadow caught chest deep in fake snow barely visible from your side of the glass. What should be apathy is a hollow longing inside of me for the life you have never appreciated. I am the center of my world, and you are surrounding me with yours.
"No one understands!" you yell.
Someone from downstairs calls back at you to keep it down up there. The distance makes them sound muffled, like they are broadcasting from the other side of an avalanche.
You smother your face in your pillow. Your voice curdles until it is raw. In your resentment, you have forgotten the comforts that encase you.
My home is silver, white and shimmering, but yours has color. I cannot move, and every day you thrash yourself against these walls in frenzies of frustration that rattle blizzards into my shelved existence.
Your mantra is that no one understands, that no one ever will, but I cannot help seeing the things you wish to hide. I cannot help hearing the thoughts you scream in fits to the frigid walls of this room. Even though no one else might, I cannot help that I do understand.
"I hope they all die for real. Maybe then they'll get it. What's so hard to understand about 'why bother living if I'm dead already'?"
You scribble in bleeding black pen onto the pages of your diary and then promptly tear the passages out, dunking them in glasses of hot water by your feet that warp the light around your toes so they look frostbitten. The flesh on your hand fizzles with each submergence. The ink swirls off the page and lifts like fumes to the brim of the glass in smudgy gray brushstrokes. Your paper is slush. You swirl it around with your fingers, ignoring the burns that intrude on your nails.
I wonder if it is really water in that glass, or if like the snow at my feet it is an entity that only pretends to be.
You rant, "Just snap out of it, they say. Don't be so selfish, they say. Yeah, right! Like I'm selfish. Like I just I decided to feel like this. Like I just decided to be crazy." You stare at the ceiling fan. It squeaks as if it is crying, completes eight revolutions, and squeaks again in a higher tone. Eventually, the sound drops back down to a whirring, flat pitch and then the cycle starts all over again. "Must be nice living a cushy life like theirs where problems are so easy to get rid of. Oh, don't worry! Just ignore how you feel about everything! No problem. Pretty soon everything'll be fan-fucking-tastic, you know, like it was before you turned defective. Yeah, I'll just do that."
You pull out a strand of your hair and masticate it. The fan whimpers along with you as you weep.
An orange prescription bottle illuminates itself like a celestial being from your bedside table, below the lamp that has always served as my sun, a dim sun whose rays have never fully reached me, whose light has always been a taunt rather than a comfort. I have never needed to breathe before, but now I think I am suffocating.
You swallow everything, a handful of tiny snowballs tumbling down the hill of your tongue. You curl your fist into your teeth. Your tears gather on the floor and slide over the slanted planks back toward you. I understand. The snow in my globe always finds its way back to me, too.
You go from lying in wait to spasms, from catatonic to writhing. You vomit and claw over the chunks across the floor. The snow at my feet twitches when I lose sight of you. You must be directly below me, obstructed from my view by the shelf and the snow crowding my legs. I imagine you are crashing against our wall in the throes of desperation.
I remain unable to move.
A louder bang, and my world tilts. Your scream is like the howling of a winter wind, lamenting and turbulent. My fake snow scoops upward, falling in reverse. It rises up from my feet and to the left, then hangs in time as the Eiffel Tower spins through the air like a snowflake in rotation, me along with it.
When my globe shatters, your eyes are the vacant gray of the sky before a storm.