Australian photographer Leanne Cole posted a photo on her blog Leanne Cole PHOTOGRAPHY challenging people to write a story or a poem. It is really not hard to find an inspiration in her dark and mysterious images, the words simply seem to flow.
Copyright – Leanne Cole
You are drowning.
You can’t remember when it all begun. When you look back, it seems like it’s been forever. But if you have to pinpoint the exact moment, you would say it started the day you had to put your dog to sleep. Yes, it’s just a dog and 17 years is a long time for a dog…But still, you are drowning.
You wonder how the years went by without you noticing. Head burrowed in your career, climbing the ladder two steps at the time, any notion of family pushed aside. Military is an unforgiving mistress, taking everything and giving so little in return. But your love is blind.
It is hot, sticky summer, the first time you seek comfort in his bed. Drunken kisses and graceless movements, it is nothing you imagined it would be. It is so much emptier. He is trying to close that hole in your heart, but the demons still make you scream at night. And you are still drowning.
He helps you bury your dog in the woods behind your cabin. You are not surprised it’s raining. You don’t cry, you just turn around and walk back to the car. Paper bag with cheap wine in your hand, you are staring ahead, hypnotized by wipers sweeping back and forth, wishing they could sweep so effortlessly over your mind.
Two months later he is missing in action. And you wish you told him you love him. For the first time in years, you miss a day of work. They believe when you say it’s the flu. You never lied before. But you are so damned tired. Your doctor prescribes you some pills, warning you to be careful cause “These are very strong.” You ignore his advice and for the first time in months you sleep. And no one notices that you are drowning.
You read about his funeral in the Sunday newspapers. You just stare at the words, not surprised they didn’t call you. It was a well-kept secret, lie by omission. “Fraternization of officers with enlisted personnel” is not a label you want to be put on the thing you had. Not that you know what it was. But you cry nevertheless. You cry for your silly dog and your long gone mother, for fighting this stupid war over and over again with no end in sight, for lost friends and lovers, for all that could have been, for all the children you’ll never have.
The pills help for a while, they numb your pain. And for a moment you contemplate how easy it would be to just stop. Give up. Your gun is locked in a safe in your office. But you keep your kitchen knives sharp. You stand by the open window, rain soaking your nightgown, bare feet in the freezing puddle on the hardwood floor. You wonder if anyone would miss you.
But the truth is you were never a quitter. Hard years of military training shaped not only your body, but your mind as well. So, you stand there, looking at the people walking on the street, willing someone to look up, to see you. So you can whisper: “Bring me to life.”
You are not drowning anymore.