What To Do Next

"14 Lines From Love Letters Or Suicide Notes"
by David "Doc" Luben

1. Don’t freak out.

2. We both know this has been coming for a long time. 

3. I've been staying awake at night, wondering if I should tell you.

4. I bought the kind of crackers you can eat. They are in the hall cupboard. 

5. Now that we have watched all the episodes of True Blood, I do not know what else to do next. 

6. I always imagined this would happen without warning. Like suddenly on an ocean cliffside. But this is the kind of thing where waiting for the time to be right would just mean waiting forever.

7.  I've just been too afraid for too long. 

8. I came home on Thursday and found all of the chairs in the house stacked in a pile in the center of my kitchen; I don’t know how long they have been like that, but it must have been me that did it. It is the kind of thing a ghost might do, to prove to the living he is still there. I am haunting my own apartment. 

9. My grandmother was still alive when I was five years old and she told me to check if the iron was hot enough yet, so I pressed my hand against it, and it was red and screaming for hours. Twenty five years later she would still sometimes apologize, in the middle of conversations, "I feel so bad about making you touch the iron," she'd say, as though it had just happened.

I cannot imagine how we forgive ourselves for all of the things we didn’t say until it was too late.

But how else do you tell if something is hot but to touch it?

10. I keep imagining my furniture in your apartment.  

11. I wonder how many likes this will get on Facebook. 

12. My dad always used to tell the same joke, but I can’t remember the punch line. 

13. I was eight years old and it took three weeks (three eight-year-old weeks — imagine) to gather everything I needed to be Batman: rope, boomerangs, a mardi gras mask with the beads cut off. I couldn’t find a cave near my house, so I buried them all in a bundle under the ivy.

For years after, 

I tried to find that spot again. 

          The ivy grew too fast. 

              I searched in so many spots 

it seemed impossible I had missed one, 

but I never found it. 

How can something be there, 

       and then not be there? 

         How do we forgive ourselves 

             for all the things we did not become? 

14. I never had the courage to buy bright green sheets. I wanted them, but thought they were too brash, even with no one but me to see them. I bought a set yesterday and put them on the bed. I knew that you would like them.