INTERLUDE: an open letter to georgia madchen
punishments, transitory worlds, and observations.
I sleepwalk when there are deer around, did you know that? If I’m in a place with a deer outside, and I’m asleep, I will find my way to the deer. Drawers are opened, clothes put on, doors unlocked— I will find my way to it. Nothing happens to me or the deer, aside from slight lacerations on my feet due to walking outside barefoot. We just look at each other. For minutes. For hours.
This is to say that I know what it feels like to not be in control.
When I told my friends about the deer, they asked me if I’ve seen Hannibal. I hadn’t, but I finished the first two seasons in about a week, fueled by something akin to self-recognition through the other. Almost everyone reflected “me” right back through the screen— Abigail’s terrified manipulation, Will’s desperate grip on his sanity and dreams of deer, Bella’s rationalism and secret-keeping. Most of all, it was you.
This is something my doctor would call “a cause for concern” in her sweet, high voice. I can understand why. The entire premise of your character was that something here has gone horribly wrong, and it shows— when we first see you, your skin is rotting off, you’re jaundiced and malnourished, and you’ve also just accidentally murdered your best friend by prying her face off because you thought she was wearing a mask.
When I first saw you, I thought “zombie”, which was quickly followed by, “well, who am I to judge?” Pot calling the kettle black. The only difference between me and you is that I’m better at acting human.
Death and I are well aquainted in every sense of the word. I’ve at the end of that scythe five times now, which I’ve been told is an impressive amount of times to have your heart stop if you’re only 17. Sometimes, I see it hanging off me like perfume— in the reflection, in photographs, behind people I’ve been on my knees for in bathroom stalls. There is something about me that looks like I know what the end of the narrative is. You knew too, didn’t you?
Will diagnosed you with Cotard’s syndrome. You thought you were dead, that you didn’t need to take care of yourself because of it. I have made the definite decision not to look into it at all, because I tend to be a hypochondriac and a disease where I think I’m dead fits my bill perfectly. No diagnosis. No belief. If I think I’m overexaggerating enough, maybe it’ll be true.
(Let me pose this to you: if someone went on a killing spree and did some of the most immoral and terrible things imaginable, would they get punished? Sure, they might get thrown into jail if they don’t die before then, but what kind of punishment is that? They live in a different place, one that feeds them three meals a day and gives them a bed and they stay there for the rest of their life. Maybe they get death row. I’ve looked beyond death, you have to understand, and there’s something there that’s not nothingness but close. Like multiplying the world by 1. A process has occured but left it unchanged. I closed my eyes when I drowned at age 14 and saw colors that we haven’t seen yet in this real world, and then I woke up on the beach. Maybe there is no Hell or Heaven, Georgia. There’s only a God who puts us into the game and takes us out when they like.)
No paranoia— I don’t think I’m sick, I know I’m sick. I’m not paranoid if I know they’re tracking and watching me. I’m writing this on a computer that I rented two years ago from my school for a grand total of $25. The superintendent could be watching me type this. I live in a city with too many windows. Eyes I can’t see follow me down streets. It’s not paranoia, it’s karma, Georgia.
You know, I tried to write a birthday card for my best friend last night, but it turned into and eight page love poem. I do love her. Sometimes I look at her and feel like I don’t know her, but I do love her. You know what that feels like.
In this letter, I told my best friend about who I am in relation to her. I’m a watcher. That’s what I do. I sit inside and look through the windows at all the little people going about their days, trying to learn how to act like a real live person. Never participating. Everything I do is a reflection of someone I no longer know. I am a thousand people that are not myself. And there I was, nine years old, watching someone who would become my best friend go about her day. I switched my handwriting over to hers before deciding it was too timid for me. I laughed like her and played soccer and drew the same fairies she did in an effort for relatibility and realness, but I could never get it just like she had it. Something about her is organic and genuine, and I’ve never been able to replicate that. Georgia, she was the Blue Fairy to my Pinnochio. I’m sorry that Beth couldn’t have been yours. I’m sorry your brain did that to you.
I think about you, under the bed, watching Will with your jaundiced and bloodshot eyes, holding his hand. Both of you lost or losing. Two slow dancers in a fast, fast world. I’ve watched my skin fall off due to antibiotics all while Will was holding the skin of your arm like a glove that you just slipped out of. Last ones out. None of us are able to keep up that well, are we?
Dear Georgia, I have always been a ghost. We sit here together, in this planet that is a transitory world in itself, and we know that this is all a dream we’ll have to wake up from soon. Any damage done will be blinked out of existence when we do, but that’s not up to us. Not anymore. Say it with me: no damage. No more deaths. Eschew the rope and the pills and the cliffs and the hose and the sharp objects. It doesn’t matter if we’re already dead, Georgia. Not anymore. We have been given a semicolon; we can choose to keep going.
Dear Georgia, I want you to know that Will isn’t the only one that was holding your hand that night.
We will dance another dance, you and I. We will dance again.
All the love. All the hope.
“The only difference between me and you is that I’m better at acting human.”
this made my skin crawl plz never stop writing ever