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The world I knew

I remember the slow and methodical way in which I came back to life. Six hours of total paralysis, watching time tick off on the clock beside my bed. I still swear, up and down, that it was rigor mortis, but what do I know. I just remembered and reflected, for there was nothing else I could do. The world I knew returned to me and yet everything was very different.

Betrayal came first. I was used to betrayal, as it played a key role in events leading up to my suicide, but it had always been the betrayal of lovers, not of friends. My best friend's girlfriend came to me for support. I tried to help her, but she was distracted. He was trying to end their relationship. She used me as a pawn in her game to win back his affections. She accused me of trying to rape her. She played the victim. He came back to her and left me in the process. It was the way of things. I moved forward.

Can love be stronger than death?

While elements of my life were fading away, becoming irrelevant, or otherwise destroying themselves, one change became stronger than the rest. When I died and returned, my perspective on things changed. Relationships with friends and family took on different meaning and sometimes left me completely. I couldn't relate to people in the same way I had before. There was something different about me. Perhaps that was why I dealt with her in ways I never imagined before.

My love for her was the most painful thing in my life.

Had I possessed courage or any kind of confidence in the years before my death, things might have been different. So often I played the victim, allowing situations and events to control me and cause me to feel sorry for myself. There was one person who meant more to me than anyone else who walked this earth, and yet I could not even admit to myself that I loved her. Those denials haunt me to this day. It is said somewhere that the only thing that haunts us from one life to the next is love unexpressed and unfulfilled. I could have gone anywhere in space and time, but for some reason I returned to the world I knew. All the signs and passages could have happened anywhere. A part of me believes the only reason they happened here was because I was incapable of letting go of her. Through dreams and prophesies I continued to think of her, wondering what had become of her and why I had been so foolish. I ached to find her again, and I did.

"What the hell happened to you?"

I can never forget those words. She was left confused and bewildered by how much I had changed. Later she would tell me that I looked and sounded very different from the person she had known. Who was I? She found level ground on which to look at me, but I was not the quiet and retreating boy she once knew. After all, back so many years ago, she had pursued me because she knew I would never chase her. I was too wrapped up in my own defeat to ever really imagine success. Yet, she knew I longed for her, and it gave her comfort knowing that I harbored such passion and desire for her. I was her anchor.

Sometimes you bleed

Sometimes we needlessly pain ourselves over things we look back on years later and deem insignificant. Everything seems right for the moment and we want to hang on to that moment for as long as we can. With her, there was never a moment, it was always the promise of a moment that could never be. This was what made it significant. We always had our noses pressed up against the glass, but the glass was always there. For so long we were both in prison and the other was in the visiting room. We create our own prisons and we are the only ones who can escape from them. There is no redemption in rescue. There is only redemption in self-salvation.

We always held each other's cards. It was like a curse and a blessing in disguise. In our lives' lower moments, we would reach out to each other and the other would always have something to say that made sense of the madness. At times it was scary. Neither of us wanted to depend on anyone. We were independent spirits who found in each other far too many answers to questions that lingered. To embrace each other for too long meant giving up too much control. This was the passion. It could never be consummated. That was the pain.

Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.

It was too much. Returning from death, I greeted everything head on, and that included her. I walked back into her life. I wasn't mumbling about my problems and other people. I was talking about her, to her, and I was not about to quit. She didn't know who I was, but I had become who she always wanted me to be. There was no surrender. There was no statement about unworthiness. I bought her a ring. I confessed the depth of my love for her. I told her it didn't matter what happened in our lives. As long as we stayed together nothing could touch us. It scared her. She ran. She continues to run. There are no answers for her, only what she knows and has come to accept. At the same time I believe I love her more than any human being can love another. Of course, I also don't believe I am completely human any longer. Something happened to me when I died. I became capable of things I wasn't capable of before. And I bleed. I only bleed for her. Everything else is just so damned temporary.

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