(remains untitled)

(remains untitled)

A Story by Ookpik

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We wait together, at some random bus stop - some superfluous booth with the necessary sign and its algorithmic formulation of numbers, capitalized letters and times. You stand apart from me, a breath length away but farther than you are near. 
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I can see the distress falling about you, cascading in the loose hairs around your ears and in the deepening lines of your silhouette - I can see the shadow cast over your shoulders, the blanket thrown across your back and the anvil weight of linked chain draped about your neck.
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"I don't know what to do," you tell me - leaning a little closer as you speak.
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"It all feels so heavy."
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My loss for words doesn't do justice to the gravity of your statement, but I attempt a consolation anyways.
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"I think," I pause again, "I think I've learned that it's always going to feel heavy."
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"Things like these rarely seem to go away - whether they lighten or not, there's some part of them that'll always be there."
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"It just..." you're struggling, worried that I lack the means to understand.
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"It's just, I never seem to have a choice in anything anymore."
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"Things just happen, over and over, and it feels like I'm constantly being asked to just deal with it,"
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"To just absorb it - as if it's not supposed to make any difference, as if it's not supposed to hurt as bad as it does."
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I nod, because despite your concern, I know something about what you're feeling.
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"It's true. I don't think the world is meant to hold our hands through any of this."
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"It never seems to at least, until those moments when it doesn't really matter whether it is or not."
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I can see you digest what I've said, remembering the times that I'd referred to - the good times... those happy times that seem to take forever to appear and that, by the time they do, seemed so brief that you'd been denied the opportunity to even notice that they've already come and gone.
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"But never assume it's not supposed to affect you."
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"Whether we want them to, or whether we try our best not to let them, things like these have a tendency to change us."
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You're frustrated. 
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You can tell I'm listening, paying attention, but the point I'd tried to make fell shorter than you'd hoped.
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"What if I don't like how it changes me?"
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"What if I don't want to feel like this anymore?"
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"I don't think we're always supposed to like it." 
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"But knowing that you're unhappy means that you're ready to do something about it."
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"But I don't know what to do," you answer, taking a step towards the curb.
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"That's alright too." 
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"Because I don't believe it's supposed to be possible for us to always have an answer."
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You pause, as I shift my weight uncomfortably between the good and bad leg.
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"I've only ever been able to guess at what seemed like the right thing."
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You know me well enough to understand the experiences I'd alluded to, but you remain where you'd been standing, knowing I'd yet to finish the thought.
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"Sometimes people die."
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"Sometimes, simply paying for the right to live can be expensive."
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"Sometimes, we have to work our asses off for next to nothing in return."
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"Sometimes, when we need it most, nobody is going to be there to tell you it's all going to be alright,"
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"Even when it seems as though our worlds are falling apart."
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I take a deep breath.
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"And sometimes, these things, they can be very, very hard."
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I can tell by your silence that you're listening closely, but I abstain from looking at you to be sure I say with enough clarity what it feels as though I need to.
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"But we're allowed to feel that."
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"We're allowed to be right at the wrong time, or even instead, wrong, at the right one."
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"I think it's all part of the deal when it hurts like this."
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"And though it might feel worse than anything you've ever known before,"
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"Sometimes, just allowing yourself a second to breathe - just giving yourself the right of way to make mistakes, or to struggle, or to suffer - can make all the difference you need."
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I laugh a little with a nervous uncertainty, as if I'm having a hard time believing myself as I speak. 
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But before I have a chance to ruin the sentiment, you lean a little closer - placing your fingers in my hand and wiping the fresh water from your face.
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"That doesn't really help," you say.
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"But I'm glad you're here with me anyway."
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© 2020 Ookpik


Author's Note

Ookpik
An experiment with a shorter, scene based portrait using the first person. I had wanted to incorporare a certain open-ended-ness to the narrative's context, in that it might be relatable to a wider range of people if larger details were left unspecified.

I'm not sure I'm happy with it, as upon rereading it feels somewhat forced, but I may either revisit it or scrap it altogether in favor of another attempt.

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Added on February 26, 2020
Last Updated on February 27, 2020

Author

Ookpik
Ookpik

Vancouver Island, British Columbia , Canada



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