I have a friend. Actually, no, a correction — I have someone who I have always wanted to be my friend. I have spoken about her before, the girl who has built herself a box to live in, and I have always wanted to her to be my friend. I would take her however — sister, lover, mistress, objet de desir — but, always, always, at the heart:
So, this girl, this woman who I would have as a friend, but right now keeps me at arms length because she lives in a box of her own making, if I could say anything to her that would penetrate the fog of her starvation, could seep past the voices and the fears and insecurities, could sink underneath that drawn skin, past the flesh, into the kidneys, into her soul–
I know it is easy for me to write those words. They are just words, are they not? But that is a choice we all must make every day, is it not? We either choose to live or we choose to die.
(She chooses it every day. She eats. Or she doesn’t. Food is life, and she teeters on that knife’s edge…)
Choose life, choose life – I wish I would whisper it into her ears, into her dreams, tattoo it to her ribs, to her fingertips, brand it to her unconscious. I wish she would just choose life, that she could find the power and the will to resist the silky, dark abyss.
Choose life: in all its mess and disgustingness. The filth of the sexual meeting of bodies. The petty hurts of the indifferent; the slights of the unwitting. And also the parent that lifts a child on his shoulders to see the fireworks. The kind touch of a random stranger helping a blind person across a busy avenue.
The bus driver who stops midway between stops because it’s pouring.
The deli owner who waves off the mother looking for extra change for a half gallon of milk late on a Tuesday night.
The random joy rippling through a sweaty, overstimulated crowd packed in like sardines in a tiny, dinky, garish bar celebrating their hard-fought equality.
The thrill of a laughter as a summer storm opens up a downpour on a rooftop of concertgoers downing cheap beers and dancing into the night.
I wish she would choose life – this life, this life that could be hers, would be hers, if only she could see.
I wish she would choose this life with me; sister, lover, friend, whatever, even nothing, I do not care!
I only care that she chooses it. I just want her to live.