The Truth About Who or What You Are
Before I died, I would have thought the same as you — that hell is a fiery hole at the pit of everything wrong with the universe.
I would have believed in the devil too, I’d have thought that he sat upon his throne waiting —for what, I was never really sure.
But now that things are different and I know the truth, I’d really like to share it with you. I don’t want you to come here, you see. I want you to be smart, to be good, to be anything but this.
Here’s how it starts:
I see you, born and wailing, as the doctor places you atop a tray and reads numbers off a chart.
Your parents are happy, but you are crying, and I cannot help you.
Time moves on, and it moves as slowly here as it does for you, sometimes even slower so I can remember every single moment, witnessing you for who you truly are as you fill the longing for my own friend, brother, son.
You are five now, and a girl tips her jelly onto your head. You scream and cry, but no one is bothered. Worst of all, I can’t convince you to calm down.
More years go by . . . three boys are kicking and punching you after school. You are crying, on the floor you hold your bag and wish for your mother. I see every thought, feel every bruise but I cannot help you, and even when I try you do not listen. You do exactly as you please.
This time you are fifteen and a group of people are smoking something cool. You take a hit and your mind lights up like a Christmas tree. I’ve never seen you this happy before, and you have never felt me so powerfully. I panic and try to take you back to feeling normal. Instead, you hunger for a greater high. You don’t understand, highs are lows.
You are twenty now, there isn’t much you haven’t tried. I am but a whisper. There is nothing left, not in life or in your head. It’s all been pummelled by years of habit turning the neurons into a tired drug circuit.
You give yourself no choice.
But there is always a choice —there is me.
I watch you right until the end. I cannot convince you.
You do it. You join me.
“Who are you?” You say. “Why do you look like me?”
It’s starting again, there isn’t much time.
“We are us,” I say.
“Are what?” You say.
“We are the voices in our head,” I say, turning back towards the picture.
A baby is born and the doctor lays it atop a silver tray.
I cannot help it to stop crying, not alone. But maybe things are different now, maybe two voices are louder than one.