Earlier, I had an idea of what I wanted to say. After my usual few minutes catching up on various sites, I’m not so sure. Is it the wake of the VICE spread still unfolding? I’m not sure. I… I feel at a loss. There’s suicide everywhere at the moment. There’s not much that can be done to escape it. Not that I’m helping matters by going about either, though.
One thing seems to compound another and I can’t escape it. There’s no avoiding the scars that litter Mr. Juniper’s body. I don’t mean to belittle what he’s gone through but the scars aren’t deliberate, they aren’t wanted. The release, the relief. That’s what he was aiming for. And they’re everywhere. Somehow unavoidable. All these years later, still visible. I can’t help but notice them. Like finding shapes in clouds as they pass by, I trace my fingers across his arms trying to find a pattern. Instead, he jolts when he realises he can feel my fingertips. He flexes his wrist, a force of habit, and beneath the skin, things move unnaturally. All these years later, I still find the damage he did hard to stomach. We both know this.
Those scars, the ones that resulted from the most damage, are the neatest. Months of healing and years of pain, and they’re almost unnoticeable. Other scars, the big ones, just hours from start to finish. They all hold their own history for Mr. Juniper. They hold history for me, too. There are ones that I remember forming in front of me. The early hours, usually. Our local Accident & Emergency. Mr. Juniper there in body if not in spirit. Watching it all happen because I’m watching him. Some nights it’s quicker than others. Trying to ignore the cold air. The smell of the equipment. The rattle of beds and wheelchairs.
I had to stop and walk away. For days.
It had been a while since I’d given myself time to think about what Mr. Juniper has done to himself. Usually when the thought arises I acknowledge it and then carry on. When we need to talk about it, I can detach myself to a degree. I can think more as a caregiver. But earlier? All I could think of was sitting in a hospital cubicle watching my one and only get stitched up. There are so many little moments from all the trips to hospital that have taken hold in my memory and refuse to let go.
I guess it goes something like this: I have days, like the days when I wrote the rest of this, that I realise I have slipped into thinking that Mr. Juniper isn’t that ill. This is followed by, well, it’s followed by my mind racing through every moment it can come up with at short notice that drives home just how ill he is. I can feel a balance coming again. A balance between his struggles and our normal. I guess that’s life, though: a balancing act.