I vanished. It wasn’t sudden like the way the word sounds – “vanish”, a quick breath of air and it’s gone. No, this was snow covering up my tracks: patient and quiet and before I knew it, I couldn’t see my own footprints anymore. There was nothing there like I didn’t exist. Maybe I hadn’t to you.
Over the years, I’d been vanishing without realizing it. Part of me disappeared the night you first told me “I love you.” I gave it away and I didn’t know. Maybe if I had, I would have been a little more careful. But I didn’t so I gave you more of myself and you took it. Then as your problems grew too big to contain inside yourself, they spilled out and swallowed parts of me I hadn’t known existed. I kept giving and you kept taking. I thought there was an endless supply; that’s what they teach us. No one ever teaches you about the disappearing, about dwindling resources. So I gave and gave and I gave away things I didn’t know I had. And you took and took and in the end, it still wasn’t enough.
So I vanished. Not quickly or painlessly, but in a long drawn out way. The snow covered up my footprints as I walked. In my mind, my footprints were bloody to show everything I had given. But the snow covered them up and now I’m sure you’ve forgotten me. I guess Eliot knew what he was talking about, eh? I laughed to myself that night, thinking these thoughts. Even this memory couldn’t keep me from vanishing. It was tainted and I didn’t want it, even if it would save me from the endless oblivion of disappearance. And so I vanished into the void, replaying those lines.
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.
Inspired by Stuart Dybek’s “If I Vanished”