There’s a little key, silver, that my mind holds in shaking fingers. It’s so real and so there that you would think I hadn’t imagined it up. That key is the words said to me; that key is the words I say to myself; that key is the “Don’t think about it!” key. Sometimes, that key feels like the only thing separating my mind from screaming but most often, it feels like the key that, if lost, would unlock things I’d love to be able to say.
The key locks a box – a basic one on the outside, plain wood and inconspicuous if it wasn’t sitting right in the middle of my mind. Among other boxes, you could not pick it out: it has hinges on the lid that creak; they aren’t used to being opened. The lock itself is surprisingly ornate, as if a lot of thought had gone into it and the key usually fits in perfectly. When it doesn’t, it makes a horrible screeching noise and no matter how forcefully you try and turn it, it won’t budge. That box stays locked.
When it does open, though, it’s a mess. Little dividers separate compartments of thought: here’s terror, here’s being left behind but they’re only small. They get released a lot more now. Next to them are the beautiful memories that I’m too scared to think about; they collide with the last time I said “I love you” to create a whirl of sick, sick happiness. Crossing over them is the knowledge of love, the lake of confusion and hurt that flows into it so that I can no longer distinguish one from the other. The neat little boxes within the box have had their walls broken down so that if one emotion is released, another will surely come along with it.
Sometimes, little thoughts trickle out of the keyhole. A bit of sadness when I hear a song, a sharp twang of remembered beauty when I’m sitting alone with nothing to distract me; an echoing emptiness that’s a follow-up to being forgotten. The key lies on top, taunting – “I’m only going to let a little out, just so you feel like crying but not enough to make you cry.” Is the key being kind? Does it want to shield me from a breakdown or is it letting me go to the brink of tears and not giving me the satisfaction of crying them?
There are knocks on the box, from fists that are gentle and fists that are not. “Let me in, will you?” they ask the key and the key laughs and cries in their face, somehow unable to move. It would love to and when it does, the box opens with a squeak of joints and lets out a torrent of “Why, why, why!” before slamming shut so hard that it’s a wonder the key doesn’t get cut in half.
Outside the box, it is a little silent. Blank. Imagine it lying on paper, blue lines snaking out from it to create a picture of an ocean. A week and a half ago, when the happiness snuck out of the box to find its freedom and was so sharply pulled back, it left a silver spark on the paper. It’s still burning there but it isn’t as bright; the key came over and called it back. “Look, it’s over,” it said. “I know you want to stay but you had your fun.”
I ask myself now: is this box my whole mind or only part? Does an emptiness subsist around it or is it speckled with complex stars of love, thought and poetry? I can’t tell. The only thing I can think of now is that box and how I would love to open it. The only thing I can think of is that box and how I’d love to rip it open, tear the wood to pieces and expel the key. The only thing I can think of is that box and how opening it might break me, worse than I feel already.
That box and that key are what has kept me silent. That key is the key that makes me feel guilty when I explain how I feel to people who should not hear it, to people who should be speaking themselves about how they feel. The thoughts in the box are the desperate ones that ask why things went so wrong; those thoughts are the ones that I don’t let myself feel any more for fear of making people think I’m pathetic. Wood, hinges and rivers of thought swirl around inside that box, faster and faster, until they will all explode outwards. I want to avoid that.
I want to open the box before it opens itself. Slowly, so as not to scare anything, until all the thoughts are mixed together and the box has disappeared. I would like to write about them, to tell people how I really feel without being afraid. One day, I will. I just hope that day can be soon.
I’m sorry for my silence. At some point, a proper explanation will be posted; I don’t feel like myself at the minute and I feel very very out of control and so attempting to sort through it all will make no sense and you’d just get capital letters everywhere in my posts and phrases like “AARGHH WHAT THE HELL!” all the time. I can’t quite express how I feel currently but I’ve tried with this and I’ll succeed. Hopefully, it can let you understand a bit about how my mind works.
From Elm 🙂