“It’s awful to want to go away but to not want to go anywhere.”
How do you do it, Sylvia? How DO you do it? How do you capture what I feel so precisely, so beautifully, so concisely, every single time? It is moments like this, moments of solace, that I know I am not alone. I wasn’t and I’ll never be. If I am feeling like this, and you went through the same journey, there must be thousands of us treading the same down-trodden path. That is the only explanation.
But even when we know we can’t possibly be alone, why is it that we feel so lonely? In spite of having a perfectly healthy day, with amazing food and company, and with perks attached, why at the end of the day, it feels like it is the end of life. The end like when two colors merge near the horizon. When the blue, the black, the yellow, the red, they all merge. They merge into something spectacular whereas we break. We succumb. And the mess we create, of emotions, of thoughts, of tears isn’t as pretty as the sunset. How can sadness ever be pretty? Have you ever heard of such a thing?
People tell me how they are homesick of places they have never visited, places many time-zones away. I guess it’s true you never return the same person after your travel, having seen the sun rise on the other side of the globe, how could you ever remain the same? Did you go through it, Sylvia? This journey of enlightenment, this journey of self-awakening?
You were an American in England for so long, did it ever bother you? Did you ever miss home? Or were you running away from home? Why do I always feel that whatever you became, however that happened, it is all epicentered around your father’s death. Did you know of home, Sylvia? Did you ever find the true meaning of home? Were you seeking that with Ted? Did you find it?
Was Ted a good person? Based on all that I have read till now, Ted was your drug. Every artist has a drug, something that fuels them, enrages them, provides them ecstasy and excruciating pain all at once, every artist has a yellow paint. I think Ted was your yellow paint. Was it because of this that you couldn’t leave him? Because you wanted him despite all common sense, despite of all atrocious capabilities he possessed? Did you, foolish child, think it was love?
He strangled you, atop that mountain during your honeymoon, but you still couldn’t leave him, could you? Was Ted really abusive? Was he short tempered? Why couldn’t he ever settle? He single handedly destroyed you, Assia and probably even Carol.
Was he as tortured as you? Did he feel trapped too? Or was he simply a pathetic womanizer? What else could explain his extra marital affairs when he was with Carol. What else would explain why he left you for Assia, only to desert her in the middle of nowhere again. Is he the real cause of your death? Is it true what they say?
I don’t call your death a suicide, no I won’t. It was murder. I don’t know who did it, but I know how they did it. They lured you in their life, they lured you deep with their hypnotic eyes and they promised you a forever, they promised you a complete story. Now they may not have known that they lacked the courage to fulfill their promises. Maybe they were just as weak, just as any frail human being. Just as frail as anyone who breathes and bleeds. And slowly, they became the oxygen you inhaled, the food you ate, the flowers you arranged. But just as every fairy tale, they couldn’t be with you. I don’t know why. I don’t know why. They punched you deep, went down your throat and pulled your heart out swiftly and brutally. The torn thing, the fragile heart could only bear so much. Your heart broke, your soul whimpered.
But I am sure you kept on moving forward. You were strong like that, I know. You were courageous, Sylvia. But sometimes, with days and months of literal and figurative coldness, any emotion you felt couldn’t have seeped down to your heart. It was only numbness. Did you become like that? Was it this helpless numbness that killed you?
People don’t realize this soon enough. Hearts, they are mad. You shouldn’t trust them to lead you anywhere good, anywhere happy. They should come along with a cautionary guide.
Your story tells me, not of love, but of obsession, possession and desperation. There’s no love that vaporizes into thin air like that. It’s an obsession that suddenly loses its charm a few years down the line.
It makes me wonder. I wonder if I’ll ever meet a man who will ignite a similar fire in me, who’ll be able to twitch and twist my nerves and make me feel things I have only read about. Will I also, despite all common sense, call it love? Would I want to spend the rest of my life with him? Will I end up with him and be miserable? Will I come home early only to hear him chat with his mistress? Will I have to listen to him say that he always wanted to leave me? Will I have to see another woman bearing my husband’s child? Will I?
Will I then realize that all this while I was chasing something that was never mine? Will I be able to protect myself from all of this?
Will I end up sealing my doors shut, only to find myself kneeling in front of the oven, unable to conjure a different ending? And with this, will it all end?
What is the end? What is the beginning? What is freedom? Were you free when you finally died? Did you die?
Millions of girls like you, I am sure millions, are feeling the exact same emotions you felt when you were their age. We are all seeking perfection, but what for? We are all seeking a better place but neither of us are actually going anywhere.
It really is awful, Sylvia. Wanting to break free, but only walking further into the web of darkness. Is this what is destined? Are we all doomed?
I am trying to understand what I feel, but all I can gather during nights like this one is that I am tired. My bones, my eyes, my fingers, everything pains and has gone numb. Cold and numb. All I am looking for is an anchor, because despite of all castles shattering, I still don’t believe I am going to end up like this.
My dreams broke, my eyes cried, my soul hurt, but I am still dancing. Dancing to the tunes of the sadness and madness that is your world, that is our world, Sylvia Plath.