I could not care less if my death should be ruled a murder or a suicide. It is merely a question of semantics; at the core they seem identical to me. After all, if I stay, if I let you wrap your lovely hands around my neck in the dark of some night, who is really to blame – you for your action or myself for my inaction? To whom should my death be attributed, and why should I care one way or another when I am gone? The beauty of that final moment is that we are together, conjoined in our shared sin and experiencing its climax as one. Your squeezing hands, my bruising skin, they are really not so different. Here, darling, take the last breath off my lips and keep it as your own. You may call it a trophy or a suicide note, I do not care.
The human body is astoundingly stubborn; it clings to life long after the will to live has bled from the spirit. Deny it sustenance, deny it rest, deny it more than a bare modicum of care or attention and still it struggles to rise each day. You can force your body to breathe ash and swallow poison, yet still your heart labors to beat as long as it possibly can. It’s sad, really, to think that every cell in your body struggles unceasingly to survive when you couldn’t care less if you even live through the night. I’d have died years ago if it were up to me. Somehow I keep waking each morning, though, so I’ll just keep going until the day I don’t. Give up, heart. Give in, lungs. Nothing in this world is worth your desperate striving. I long for the day I’ll never see, when you have finally learned to let go.
I am getting very good at dying. Practice, after all, makes perfect. No, I will not tell you which methods are most painful; it is not the manner of death that hurts, but the person by whom it is caused. Nor will I tell you which method I most prefer; there are times when you want to feel nothing and times when you want to experience the death of every individual cell. And no, I will not tell you my most gruesome ends; death is a private thing, no matter how we treat it otherwise. (And besides, I have a biographer for that.) You ask how many times I have died by my own hand? Define hand. Define my own. Define died. You ask what was my longest death? But surely you know we are all dying from the first moment of our existence. How and why things accelerate near the end matters very little. Close your eyes and feel the cells in your body dying this very second, dying every second, dying every single day of your life. Do not worry about the hows and whys. Take it from someone who has died so many times I could not possibly keep track: only the devil is in the details.
I fight the desire to find some hidden hole in which to die, but it becomes harder every day. I made that choice once and he found me anyway, just this side of in-time, and look what that got me. He’d turn the whole city upside down searching for me if I did it again, and so would do me no good. But still my animal instincts urge me to hide somewhere, anywhere; in the closet or the bathroom, beneath the bed, on the roof, in the fucking walls if possible. Death is a private thing, and having been born alone and lived alone, I would prefer to go out the same way. There is nothing romantic about dying in your lover’s arms, of that I can assure you. Better to die alone and save them the misery of the aftermath, and yourself the guilt of leaving.
I will give my lover this; he does nothing by halves. If he drinks, it is expensive hard liquor he tosses back like cheap shots. If he gets high, it’s on uncounted pills that sink him into a sleep as deep as the dead. If he fucks, it is fervently, anonymously, dangerously. If he hurts, it is never just one punch, but blow after blow until knuckles split and bruise. And if he loves, he loves with body and heart and soul, all-consuming, submissive and possessive.
[conversations with gods]
Does the wick burn willingly for the flame?
The wick doesn’t have a choice. Without it, the flame dies.
Why is that the wick’s problem?
Why do you question everything?
Why don’t you?
First he tries pleading. “Beloved. Darling. Baby. Open the door. This can’t be like everything else. You don’t get to hide this from me.”
Then he tries threatening. “I’ll break the door down if you don’t unlock it. You know I will. Just let me in.”
Then he tries guilting. “Fine. Whatever. Die alone in there, if you want. I don’t care. I’m going back to bed.”
A couple minutes later he kicks in the bathroom door anyway, face contorted in a mixture of anxiety and anger that on another day would be highly amusing. But it’s hard to find much of anything amusing as I turn my palm over to show him the spatters of blood, little droplets to match those glistening on the rim of the toilet and drying on my chapped lips. The anger and anxiety leech away, along with the color in his face, and whatever he was going to say remains unspoken as he sinks down onto the tile next to me with a weary sigh.