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Aug 2020
i look at you and how you look away out the window as if hoping for some change in the scenery outside of this land-bound valley town. the heat of the sun pounds us into the ground like nails, where our limbs refashion themselves into tree roots searching towards deep desert springs. wine runs like blood from the hilltop vineyards, seeping into the ground with the expectation that bacchus’s approval flows behind in the form of celebratory madness. outsiders travel minutes, hours, days to claim these dark rivers running towards the gemstone lake that is the central attraction (though the haunted legends of beasts and spirits and gods are twisted into cheap gimmicks to attract the gullible and the unrepentant as well).

your distaste is a palpable thing, tucked behind your pleasant smile like a second-rate bicycle behind a sign warning against trespassers. you say, the sun may be burning, like these old forests we swore up and down to protect, but we’re all cold and distant as those stars above that are smothered by smog in the night sky. i watch you and how you watch the city around you sew their suits out of dollar bills and paint their skin red with the vineyards’ glory that spills from their lips. i see you and how you see the world, and we both watch this city drown itself in desert sands.

the wine creeps up the grass stalks and laps at our ankles, singing in silent temptation of a more classy form of intoxication and pleasant (if temporary) forgetting. i tell you as much and you tell me that you would rather swim out to meet the serpent of the lake before you submit to this city’s games, would rather start walking and keep walking, barefoot across the tarmac until it turns to gravel and then to dirt at the city limits, and out into the forests and fields of the land that has nourished and raised us (with only our spite and fire in return). you call people a disease, concentrated like ****-filled sores of plague in cities and towns, and bitterly acknowledge your part in the problem. i ask what you think the solution is and in return you  ask if i think the revolution will be silent or if it will take the whole of humanity down with it into the burning pitfalls of history and time.

you couldn’t care less if the world burns around you. your eyes, still staring out the window, tell a tale of a soul already so far from this world as to be beyond human comprehension. turning to me for the first time today, immediate in a way you haven’t been since i first met you in that empty grade-school classroom during those years of our innocence, you ask me what i would do if you woke me in the night to say goodbye. i told you that there was only ever one option, when it comes to leaving this dead-end town of lowercase gods and nomadic wanderers. when you leave (and i know it’s a ‘when,’ not an ‘if’) i will not hesitate to pack my own bags. the streets of this city pulse with power and legends and riches like the blood of some great creature sleeping under the mountain, but i will willingly leave that mystery buried when you reach the end of your rope and decide impermanence it better than staying.

when you leave, i will follow you, watching as you blaze a trail ahead of me, to the end of the world (the end of our respective lives), and ever onward, beyond even the end of time. i will always choose you.

sometimes the end of suffering is just choosing not to live in the place of the pain

Hannah Marr
Written by
Hannah Marr  19/F/Canada
   Imran Islam
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