2021 Hilarie Lindsay Prizewinning Story: Section 2

Decomposition

by Amelie Jenkins, Year 8, St. Scholastica’s College

My heart has begun to blister, it too giving in to death. Would it be selfish that a small part of me wishes it had fought harder?

To know that you weren’t enough, is the hardest feeling to come to terms with. That despite giving your all, you fell short each time. Until, giving your all no longer seems worth it, why try when it’ll never be seen. Why spend your days begging for anything people will offer if you’ll never be heard? It seemed easier to give up, to no longer care, and it was. My purpose on this God-forsaken earth became clear, I was to be nothing, become nothing. Yet another stone on somebody else’s path. Maybe people would remember me, come together to mourn the idea of me. Scrambling for things to say about the person they disregarded, ‘Oh, they were deeply loved’… by who? ‘They will be remembered’… by who? ‘I should have been there for them.’ No, I was never the person someone could brag about saving. I would have destroyed them, broken them down until the world would be mourning the loss of both of us. 

The empty space in the coffin is getting smaller, my body swelling to double its original size. Is it bad to sometimes wish that everything would go back to normal?

Regret…

Such an awful emotion, a plague that consumes you the more you run. Escape only comes in two forms, forgiveness—the white flag being raised, something most only ever dream about, the easy way out. And then there’s death, you’ll find yourself doing everything to drown it out, for a few moments of reprieve. Chasing a high that remembers better than it feels, desperation for it to return overwhelms you. By then, you can never go back. Even if you were never able to live, you survived, but now? After the little taste of freedom when everything falls away? You can’t even return to just surviving. 

There are only two ways out, and I took the second. 

I expected death to be quiet. But I feel as though I can hear everything so much clearer than before. But that’s the beauty of it I guess, when you’re dead there’s nothing crowding your head anymore. Mundane worries become distant memories until all you can focus on is the darkness around you. Feeling the constraints of your resting place, and yet still knowing even that isn’t permanent. You can’t feel anything when you’re dead. I can’t see the wood around me or feel the clothes I was dressed in. But I know they’re there. I know that the dirt above me will one day cave in my last obstacle. That the insects will live off the one thing holding me back. That what was once my body will one day be reduced to nothing, and the world around me won’t feel so loud. That’s when I know I’ll finally be free.

By now, my internal body is liquid. Once strong muscles are slowly rotting away. But to the insects, I’m sure it still seems like gold. I think that despite how hard they fought, my mind and body are still connected. And as my body gives in, so does my mind.

After a while even the memories faded. I am no longer someone, I am just ‘there’. Time has no value when you have no thoughts, no feelings, nothing. The only part of ‘me’ still here is the body, by now it’s not much, but it’s still there. It’s been a little while since the insects got in. Little holes forming in once smooth skin. Living creatures thriving in something so dead, making use of something no one ever has before. I wouldn’t say I could feel it, but when nothing becomes your something you can detect slight changes. A tingle in your consciousness as something crawls over a long dead nerve. Or maybe I am feeling nothing, knowing nothing. But that a small part in me wishes that I was. How do you name a feeling that only the long dead parts of your mind can remember?

It’s hard to think now, sometimes faint memories flash by but other times there’s nothing. The insects appreciated my body in ways no one else ever has before but even they’ve left now, because what’s so enticing about bones? My mind is eroding, and I feel like my final time is coming. I should be happy, but why am I so scared?

Once my mother told me that death would hurt. Maybe not you, but the ones you leave behind. That leaving them would be the hardest thing to go through, back then I agreed. But now I realise that the hardest thing to leave behind is yourself.

I’ve come to learn that even when your mind has given in, your body hasn’t. We are hardwired to survive, for our bodies to make it through illness, injury, heartbreak. It’s one weakness is the mind, what can the body do when the mind has given up. When the mind is doing everything to destroy the body, to kill it. When two forces come against each other so violently, peace no longer becomes an option. Most will one day learn that the mind almost always wins. The mind becomes too powerful until the body has no choice but to give in. Some would call the body weak, that it could have kept fighting. But when the one thing that was always meant to be on your side turns, maybe fighting isn’t worth it anymore.

Sometimes I wonder if I ever truly knew what regret was. I know now, but I can’t help but think if I had the chance to go back, would I take it? Would I give into the wants even my long dead mind still wishes for? To have someone that would hold me, appreciate me, love me. Of a life beyond what I know now.

Death is beautifully cruel, the perfect predator. Designed to target every one of your weaknesses. Like the strongest drug, once you get a glimpse, a taste isn’t enough. Death is manipulative, it doesn’t care who and what you’ll be giving up, its only need is to consume you. And yet, death is home, it’s welcoming, it’s your own escape. Personalised into what life could never provide. So, giving up doesn’t mean you’re weak, it means you fought, it means you tried. And sometimes to win you don’t need to succeed, sometimes you need to lose. Because my story was never created to be happy, no, it was written to end.

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