Whenever the first of this month rolls around, I find myself becoming you. For I’m thinking of you all the time, but whenever the first of this month rolls around, I imagine what it was like to be you, for the last eighteen days before you died.
I imagine you trudging up the three flights it took to get to your cramped little apartment, a sack of soccer balls hanging from your shoulders and sweat tracing your ears as you pull out your phone and see the date – the first of May. We were due to come visit you in twenty-two days and whenever you spoke to us on the phone, you sounded genuinely exhilarated. But behind closed doors and locked phones, I imagine you sitting on your yellowing bathroom tiles, the shower beating down on you as you cried, as you wonder if you can pull it together for your excitable younger brother who’s holding on to your promise of taking him to the football bar down the street, and here you are trying to find stable ground to place your feet. Every night you find yourself creeping closer to defeat, but you keep pushing yourself to fight, combatting all your lows by compulsively getting high.
I imagine you watching the dates inch closer, and your breaths getting shorter. Like the grains in an hour glass, I imagine you lying in bed at night while all the fight seeps out from your sides and your patience wears thinner. I imagine you pacing around your room counting your options on fingers bitten raw, trying to come up with anything other than the only option you saw, until the sun rises on yet another day, and you realize that’s another day lost. I keep picturing you play with your options in so many different scenarios, for I know you would’ve stayed had you found a way, which is why I keep trying to guess what it was in these last eighteen days that pushed you over the edge. You told us that two weeks before you did what you did, your Ayat-ul-Kursi slipped from your neck and you dubbed it as God’s way of signaling that this is the end. I imagine you locking your bedroom door and pulling out the notepad that we were given days later, with a note to the first responders that would eventually find you dead.
Every year on the first of this month I imagine what the last few days were like, but for the first time since, the parallels are too real this time, for the first of this month is only two months away from when I turn twenty-five. This year is as close to you as I will ever be, with our ages exactly aligned and the internal dialogues beginning to mesh, as I try to picture your face but keep seeing mine instead. You spent the last of your days thinking of the perfect things to say for when someone would find you dead, the narrative in your head now reaching its conclusion as you find peace in the solution that promises to take you away.
Perhaps you spent your last few days already checked out, or perhaps it literally boiled down to a final hour of doubt, but two months away from your twenty-fifth birthday, you were already a zombie walking around. Sitting in your shoes it’s hard to find other things to think about and as your biggest cheerleader, it's difficult to pull myself away from your footprints and find my way own way out. But as your younger sister I also promised to do better and for our younger brother, I have promised to try. So as the first of this month rolls around this time, I imagine you writing a note for those who will find out you died, but I have decided to continue to write for all those that will find me still alive.