It is spring, but the island’s blustering winds nearly blow me away. Tall yellowing grass brushes my knees. My eyes drift upward, and I am met with only a cold grey. It smells of dead flowers and dry dirt, of bitter sea and fish bones, but mostly of him. I am always thinking of him. The air tastes salty and sorrowful. I am alone; the island’s inhabitants had long cast aside this wretched place, and yet, I cannot find myself parting with it. The winds howl in my ear, the grass whisper against my skin, haunting and heartless. They are not my friends. And yet, I stay.
There is an old, decrepit house that I often stand in. It is empty, and beyond the rotting wood creaking, I can hear children laughing, the sink running, knives and forks clinking against each other. I have done this so often that I can nearly see the small family that once lived here, praying, saying grace for food that was an easy catch. I yearned to be a part of that. But the family is gone, most likely dead.
When I am not here, I am in the caves. Finding any beauty in this hell is rare, and I am almost glad to have the caves to myself, to have this safe haven to hide in when the nightmares become all I see. Cold, wet rock leads me away, far from the harsh, biting gusts outside. I have written stories here: memories or dreams, I cannot say. I do not know the difference anymore.
I once believed that love came soft and steady, like the promises he murmured against my cheek, but love is insanity brought on by a symphony ending in discord and the painful silence that follows, and I realized that love came in short, sharp bursts, like the fireworks that painted the sky and colored the water. Love is death, and I accepted it.
I was not the first person to discover the caves. When the island was still alive, the people would bring paint and leave their tales on the walls and the floor. Even now, the paint is still there, bright blue, weeping truths about the people that they saw, the remembrances that would otherwise be forgotten. I have not drawn my own lines on the mineral canvas yet, for the fear that if I do, then reality will leave jagged holes in my still heart.
I see him. He haunts me, through the blood on my hands and the reflections in the small, phosphorescent pools and the reflected lake I stumbled upon. Stalactites hang from the ceiling, but they do not frighten me. What frighten me are the echoes left on the water, the face that I do not recognize, the pressure that suffocates me, the metallic sapidity that clogs my nose, my mouth, the pores in my skin. I wonder if this is how he felt that night.
In the center of the connected caves, there is a gaping chasm. I often pretend that the faint winds reverberating off the walls is a young girl mourning the loss of the life that could have been. She wears the white of innocence and cleanliness. I have left candles for her, circled around the pit as a memoir. I never stay long, for white quickly becomes red.
The beach is quiet, save for the waves that curl against my feet. But everything has a sinister tone to it, and I find myself stretching further and further away from the green fingers that beg to cling to my ankles, to drag me under. I hold fistfuls of rocky sand in gentle hands, wondering when I can escape. I even taste him now, his lips pressed tenderly against mine, the sweet of old summer wine. We never crashed like the tides on stormy nights. Instead, we fell into each other like falling feathers on the break of a new dawn.
It was not my intention to kill him. The first incision I made was right above his heart. I remember pushing the two flaps of skin aside and seeing the blood pumping through the arteries and the core of his body beating...beating...and then stopping. I remember cutting through the aorta, remember thinking it was so easy. I remember the blood spilling over steady fingers, cool palms. I remember holding the heart in my hand, willing it to beat just one more time. I wanted to see if his heart was made of gold. I remember bringing the heart to my ear, remember hearing voices, his and mine, in this little jewel. I remember embracing the heart, kissing it, knowing in the recesses of my mind that this would be the last time I would ever hold any part of him again. When they asked me “why”, I simply said that it was because he was so beautiful, and beauty such as that should not exist, but the truth is that I wanted to have his heart as my own. I was selfish, and I didn’t want to share him with anyone. He was mine, or he should have been. This is the punishment they have given me, the prison they have made. I cannot apologize any longer.
There is a cliff that I always return to: black, jagged stone topped with sweet lavender. I went there today. For hours, I lay there, the greenery providing some comfort. As I stared into oblivion, memories seemed to flit before my eyes like a picture screen, and I reached for them with bare hands. I thought that if I could catch them and hold them in my hands, I could live in them for eternity. I thought that I could be happy, that I could smile again. That I could forget. That has always been the hardest part about being on this island. Not being able to forget. I miss him. I thought that with the time spent wandering, his face would fade, but instead, his face has been sewn into my mind with crimson thread, the only color I seem to see nowadays.
I am always uncertain, but today, I know. With lavender pressed against my body with crossed wrists and open eyes, I escape the only way I know how. I fall.