Once, when I was younger, I didn’t cry until I heard my stomach grumble.
Birds found perches and chirped—muffled, through closed windows and walls; sounds from another world. My cat searched for my arm, did his best to curl everything onto me, but layers of blankets separated us.
I’d lain in a sort of spread-eagle, arms out like Christ, believing I was ready for Heaven. I stared at my ceiling and experimented with death.
It was a stirring of late at night and early morning. Sleep deprivation was my self-punishment. If I was hungry for anything, it was liberation, freedom from the dark while the sun rose, willing myself to see the beauty. Pulling all-nighters alone are synonymous with a lack of appetite and apathy.
All you can hear during summer nighttimes are insects and tree leaves. Maybe you can hear the grass hugging each other, or the sighs of the sleeping as they escape everything. All I could hear was the sound of my heart, calm and relaxed, finding solace in the nothing.
Can you hear the tiny growl that came from my empty belly? I came up with many reasons to cry—I wanted that growl in my heart. I also wanted to be so far into the abyss that there was no sound, no hearts and no stomachs.
Long after that day passed, I would cry for a different reason.
A cutter slips flesh into two halves, and the body, as you do, carefully begins the process of clotting, cleaning, and convalescing.
A suicide-watch case steps to the edge of a bridge, feet and hands barely quivering. Adrenaline is preparing you to survive.
A depressive’s stomach growls.
We don’t ask for these things, but they happen anyway.
The body’s eternal will to live is a kind of love.