the boy with the bloody teeth and bruised fingers doesn’t come back from the battle.
instead, he becomes something too heavy to carry. he becomes unsent letters. he becomes the air, thick with burning corn husks. he becomes the crunch of sand under bare feet, the waves carving the rocks into smoother shapes. he becomes the red mud painting the boots of his fellow soldiers. he becomes the first fistful of dirt across his own casket.
six years of comfortable silence and casual touches become an absence of comfort and an overabundance of silence.
it’s a tragedy. war is a tragedy. the lack of control, the lack of soft love, the lack of choice over when to say good things, when to hold each other close is a tragedy. it’s a perpetual state of mourning over soft parts left unexposed, over hardened knuckles and hardened faces and tenderness left unexpressed and unfelt. it’s a cheery song in minor. without the lyrics it’s just noise.
there’s parts in the story, parts that take place in the weeds, that take place in the hidden clearings, in the waterfall slosh and white-hot toned silence, in the sway of the shadows, parts where bones collide and teeth collide and then there’s hands, and they’re always rough, and it’s always guilty, parts of it almost aggressive, almost angry, desperate for anything soft to break and get those hands on, hungry for the release of pent-up love, hungry for something more.
freedom. words have meanings. sometimes the freedoms we get aren’t freedoms at all.
the boy with sharp eyes and a tender heart collects anger while his heart collects dust. it’s hard to love like this. it’s hard to properly verbalize affection that shouldn’t be there when the war drags on and it’s easier to just pretend that rough hands on already bruised skin mean anything more than want.
anything passes as love these days. against the backdrop of death and gore anything with softened angles looks like love. doesn’t even have to be genuine, and even when it is it doesn’t have to be properly voiced. it can be invisible. it’s allowed to exist without a form.
the boy with the ink splatter wrists isn’t invisible. he walks into a gunfire and he doesn’t come back from the battle.
in his head, before he walks into it, he sings -
oh freedom oh liberty i’m tired of loving like a martyr i want to love like i’m still alive i think i’m burning alive, oh let me love like i’m still alive -
— the tragedy of invisible love