20:45 and this soul meets this body

It’s a real­isa­tion I’ve had before. Many times. It tar­gets me, dead on, and I see it slowly jour­ney­ing over the hori­zon, ready to break over my head and darken my skull.

After its dawn­ing, its split­ting, its cas­cad­ing, it lingers for a time — I nev­er quite man­age to cal­cu­late the length of its stay — before one night, while I sleep, it dis­sip­ates. Where it goes, where it hides, I don’t know; all I’m aware of is that its dis­ap­pear­ance is only so it can replen­ish itself, ready itself for an inev­it­able return on an an unknown date, at an unknown time.

I’ve seen it approach­ing over the last few days, aware that it’s going to arrive and shower me with its tox­ic truths, make anoth­er onslaught on my feeble mind. I’ve wanted to run. I’ve tried sleep­ing more, hop­ing it won’t notice me, that it will pass me by. But no, it always senses my pres­ence.

It’s here. Here.

And so. And so. and so. [That last is a secret ref­er­ence.]

When I was young, when I was grow­ing up, when all that stuff was hap­pen­ing, I always thought there would even­tu­ally be an escape. I didn’t know when. But I was sure of it, I told myself: soon­er or later there would be an end to it, a halt, a fin­ish.

It was as I got older — though not yet at the point of inde­pend­ence; older, yet still young — that I real­ised I was wrong. This would be a last­ing blight. The equi­val­ent of worms infest­ing wood, con­crete can­cer, asbes­tos remains.

Older still, and the blight paid its first vis­it­a­tion. Its been return­ing, off and on, to its own cata­stroph­ic cal­en­dar, ever since.

“Hello. Go on then. Go on.”

“You deserve everything you get. You deserve everything you don’t get. Every hand you’ve been dealt. Every hand that’s been with­held. Suck it up, because it’s your pun­ish­ment, your fate, your destruc­tion. Because. Because you didn’t stop the things that happened, you didn’t pro­tect your­self, you let your­self be sul­lied, ruined and cor­rup­ted. Cow­ard, worth­less cow­ard. Moreover, you didn’t pro­tect that per­son. You didn’t stop that hap­pen­ing either. You did noth­ing, abso­lutely noth­ing. You just cowered and wept and blinked and tried to dis­ap­pear. And this, all of it, is why you are where you are and aren’t where you should be. Where do we begin with you? With your end­ing, that’s where. And I don’t stop there, either. I’m going to make you remem­ber the later times, the people you let down, the people to whom you passed your pois­on, the people from whom you should have kept your dis­tance. All of them. Every single one.”

I don’t know how long this latest vis­it­a­tion will last, but I dearly, des­per­ately want it to end. I want this ghost to van­ish. I want the whis­per­ing, the incess­ant and breath­less whis­per­ing, to stop.

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