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Sep 2012
the first step to letting go is learning to exist. i admittedly, still have not completely let go. no one ever said you had to demonstrate your knowledge, although i'm working at it. when you were there, roadmaps became love letters, the songs you wrote were preludes, flight schedules became the dreams i never spoke about, no one i was close to knew you. as far as they all know, you were a figment of my imagination, and the act of knowing you itself became a test in what i could hold onto by the skins of my soft teeth even once you'd disappeared, once your friends all buried you, and you stopped writing love songs. special occasions no longer sound like your voice. the test was, could i exist without you?

i have written this a thousand times in my head. erased and arranged memories so as not to spoil us. tried to press you into the backs of my eyes like the flowers in the pages of her notebook. and a few weeks back, i stood at the very top of a rope swing, and when i jumped, i stared straight into the churning water all the way down, because all i wanted was to look at you. but this is not a story of getting the things we want so easily. this is not a story of holding your hand, or sleeping in and having late breakfast. this is the paradox of something so strong, that could be so fragile. something that is so raw the universe could only erode it. that love could exist, and disappear so quickly, and i still want to know why no one ever taught you to swim when you were young.

i am on the train. i see a picture of you. "rest in peace" it said. at first i didn't understand. i had talked to you just yesterday. then i do. the sickening sound of your voicemail on repeat. the way you used to call every night, and tonight at seven there is just a silent cell phone sitting in my lap. i think about your baby pictures. the mother and sister you sometimes talk about. the guitars collecting light layers of dust in your empty new apartment. i wonder how they got your kayak back to shore, when you didn't come up for air, and the swing became still over the foaming water. that kayak was as empty as i am. without you, that is very.

they make plans for your funeral, everything is beautiful. everything is in order for you. i get off the train at the wrong stop and run all the way to ami's house, trying to breathe. i am painfully aware of what drowning feels like. i am as transient as us; my existence is a freak accident, circumstantial evidence with a shaky conclusion, two people who can never explain the nature of their affiliation. kierkegaard believed in taking an ethically existing approach, over a cognitive subject. that all single entities can be reduced to singular universal rules. he believed that even when we didn't do it purposefully, cognitive thought forced us into patterns of universal rules. existence is a song we play on repeat, a feeling on loop in our stomachs because a couple of words sucker punched you in the head and you still don't know why. why, is the answer and the downfall. i think what kierkegaard meant is, some things are simply unexplainable, and some things explain themselves, and our very beings switch between these two rules, baffling us, because we are creatures of ethical existence and cognitive thought; we base our actions on human-established concepts of right and wrong, refer to ourselves as "I", live in the present, and yet we also have the capacity to shape ourselves in the future tense. our ability to understand lies in whether we choose to resist or flow with universal patterns as we become part of them in our ethical existence. learning to exist is nothing more than playing chess with a higher power and allowing it to take your king when you're backed into a corner, even if the queen has to play the rest of the game alone. The game has been flipped. Learn to play even when your world turns inside out. you know the queen is your ace, your you, and she has amazing potential. you were not just some figment of my imagination that convinced me to sleep at night. i am so sure of that now.
Claire Waters
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