I live in the last chapter, in the aching hollow in my chest where a beating heart used to reside. I live in the winter, in tears of loss, in the heavy notes of a haunting lullaby, in muted greys and the most desolate days. Where I live is not next door to hope or joy. To travel there is not a simple step but an exhausting journey in a rickety boat. And when I return, as I always do, to the cold winter to curl up under the fragile pages of the last chapter, the rain of tears is like a tidal wave, the greys become inky black, the cold is freezing and the aching space in which I sleep is heavy with angst.
Where I live is populated by survivors and fighters. We live on a battle field. We live in the mud, freezing and soaked by rain. We live in pain, we live with illness, we live devoid of tomorrow, because time is transient and the only colour is in memories and slumber. We live in today, in the moment, in the weakness, in the fragility. We see each other. There is no need for words. We tell stupid in jokes. We watch life happen around us and marvel that no one notices the moments. We fight without armour, without weapons. We fight every day and the only allies we have are each other. And when we lose one of our army, we roar and scream uselessly at the world who cannot hear us.
For we live on an island. I know you wondered why you couldn't see us. Why we are invisible. Where we live you might journey to in your life, but either you will return triumphant to the mainland where sunlight is taken for granted and hope imbues your dreams, or you will drown in the murky waters that surround us.
Our island is not a destination for tourists, but not everyone who lives on the mainland is foreign. Some have dual citizenship and visit us to bring the sunlight we need to keep breathing and to find our way. For those of you who visit the last chapter in the winter and chase away the dark with tales of summer and laughter, I thank you for your lightness. I thank you for the bright. I cannot visit you where you are, the trip is too arduous and the contrast when I return steals my breath so completely I am tempted to just stop breathing. But that you visit me at all, with packages of sunlight and love shining in rebellion against the light eating forces of the island.... that you do that, makes me want to breathe more deeply than ever before. To bathe in the light and for a moment, just a moment, pretend I live on the mainland with you in the first chapter of a new story.
To my fellow residents who lie on the battle field beside me, in the last chapter, freezing and unarmed for the battle.... I wish you a journey to the mainland. Maybe one day you will reside there instead.
To visitors from the mainland, who tote packages of sunshine and love, thank you for bringing me pieces of light.
Between you, the support for Aid 4 Amara keeps inspiring me to breathe more deeply. Your love and light makes me want to keep fighting. Even though I am without weapons and armour.