The Enemy Within

The music travels up the black cords and reaches my eardrums, conveying a message so cryptic my mind struggles to understand it. Snippets of scenes never seen before flash in front of these brown eyes. It feels like something within me is dropping. Is that my heart? It can’t be. I’ve trained it now. I’ve trained it well. It knows to not dwell on the past, to not hold on to any of it. It understands reason now! Something tells me that statement means nothing at this moment. That isn’t the past. None of it took place. Those are not memories. I don’t remember them. Incredulous, I grapple with reality and the knowledge of what has been.

Oh, I miss those times? I know I’ll get over it, I tell myself. I know I’ve got through worse. This is a piece of cake. But this song…why is it creating waves in my…is that my heart? I’m walking down a busy road under grey skies. I shake my head. It means nothing, I’m sure, but I must still make an attempt to understand its effect on me. Wasn’t it just recently that I told someone I don’t let music affect me anymore? That I don’t let it connect with that part of me which indulges in the most beautifully destructive form of nostalgia? It is then that I remind myself that music ceases to affect me when I’ve exposed myself to it enough. I allow every thought drawn forth by its beats, pulsating with my blood, to appear. I allow memories to be conjured up by its resounding words and echoing melody. I don’t fight them. I let the hurt course through my arteries and veins over and over again, rising to a crescendo which can only culminate in an inevitable crash. I re-live them all, feel it all again so I can be cleansed. I should remember that the cleansing is never absolute.

Endurance of the pain makes us stronger. I am stronger. This is a first, it strikes me. Never before have I let anything pass me by if I had the slightest hope. Never before have I let patterns deter me. Something in me has always refused to give up until the only form of survival lay in retreat. This is a first, I realise; this is the first time I have chosen me. My mind clearly knows this. It was the right decision. But it’s finding another part of me tough to convince…is that my heart? How foolish. It should know better by know. When my mind was studying those statistics courses, the heart was gallivanting about, learning nothing. It should have remained caged, under my ribs! So it must undergo catharsis every time. I forgot. I didn’t go through the process this time and it has caught me unawares. And here I am, walking down a street, innocently shuffling through a playlist, buying envelopes at the post office, walking out with tons of paper, when I let it blindside me.

Blindside me? Why this song? What significance does this even have? I search my memories, do a quick scan of the history. It doesn’t exist there. I’m waiting for a streetlight to turn green when it hits me. It isn’t the past I’m missing. None of what I’m missing has occurred. My idiotic, ingratiating heart had created these scenes. With boundless stupidity it had imagined the future! These were silly visions it had seen which it is choosing to share with my conscious mind only now, because now it needs my help. As if the past wasn’t ever enough, now the future is haunting it! Is that my heart?! Are my own insides now joining forces with the ruthless outsiders I’m trying so hard to get rid of? They’re fighting me and my decisions from within!

What a horribly devious game the traitor has played! After much time and much learning, it has finally learned to not hold on to remnants of memories from long ago, but it has thought of situations which would never be, hoped for them and now it wants to forget all of it. I shrug it off coldly. It’s a moment of weakness, I tell myself with teeth clenched. Take a deep breath and keep walking. Everything will be alright. It’s just one long moment and you’ll get through it. I feel merciless towards the heart, stupefied by its ignorance and refusal to learn. For that, for putting me through this again it deserves no less. But at this moment something’s stabbing me, there’s a twinge of pain…there’s a dull ache within, something’s hurting…is that my heart?