Terrified by HLR
c/w: blood mention, suicidal ideations
I should’ve realised that we weren’t going to make it when we were wandering around that big, empty house out in the countryside one sunny afternoon in June. Your eyes, those searing blue blowtorch flames, were watching our future children playing in the garden (a son first, you’d insisted, then a girl). Your own face was childlike that day, so full of excitement and hope. You were babbling, saying things like, “Can you see yourself cooking me dinner in this kitchen?” You were envisioning a future for Us, one I couldn’t even imagine, let alone see clearly in front of me.
I was terrified of a tiny version of Us growing inside of me scared of my soon-to-be-assumed role of “wife and mother” with no time to write / no room to breathe / no space to be internally screaming at the prospect of relentless mortgage payments panicking that our babies might inherit my sadness / madness / nose worrying about hypothetical meals being served on time and accidentally murdering my orchids and forgetting to pick the kids up from school and never getting used to the absence of silence
I was frightened that I’d feel stuck in a life that wasn’t truly mine but reasoned that it’d be fine because I’d be stuck to you. Later, when I explored the top floor alone, I quietly considered which room I could end my life in if I chose to, assessing which fixtures I could potentially hang from and wondering what the freestanding bathtub would look like with red water spilling over its edges. “At least the crimson flood of my blood will complement the nursery, which we are going to paint lemon yellow.”
HLR (she/her) writes poetry and short prose about living with chronic mental illness, trauma, and grief. Her work has been widely published, most recently by Misery Tourism. She is the author of History of Present Complaint (Close to the Bone, 2021). She lives in north London. Twitter: @HLRwriter / IG: hel.rol