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 pray you never know what your lover looks like curled up on the bathroom tile, trembling and covered in a cold sweat. I pray you never know what his voice sounds like scraped raw and coated in blood. I pray you never know what his cracked lips taste like or how erratically his heart beats beneath his pale skin. I pray you never know the urge to cut out your tongue and eyes, scrape off your skin and mutilate your ears, anything to stop seeing, hearing, tasting, feeling the end as it approaches.
Sometimes I wish my body was your body. I know I shouldn’t, and why would I? Who wants to be always dead or dying? Who chooses to be trapped inside a burning building? But I do, because it is you. I want to hold up my arms and see how they taper to elegant hands that so casually cradle a knife. I want to feel how gracefully this scarce body bends and turns, and how hard and unyielding it becomes when it takes what it wants. I want to see in my reflection the unforgiving lines of your face and stare into the deep wells of your eyes. And yes, I want to know what it is like to rot from within, to taste blood in the back of my mouth and feel my sanity crumbling at the edges – but only in your body; only your rot. Decay is only as beautiful as the thing it destroys, and thus you in your unbearable perfection have elevated dying to an art form.