The human condition: loving a drowning man

Written By Joshua Omena

You learnt CPR because of him. The second step to loving a drowning man is to save him. That sight never left you. Not a bullet. Not a drug overdose. He was gasping on a rope. He was still alive. You saved him. How did you get to love a man that hated his life? You learnt to see him alive. In your head. Not a room littered with unwanted spaces. Not a fading star. To keep him breathing whenever he sleeps in the bathtub. And always wanting to know what tries to kill him. Not the water. Not the tub. But the voices in his head. Sounds you don’t see because of his mask of laughter.

The last night before rehab, he slept in your arms. He is a baby in those moments: curled beside you. Till he his screaming and shaking and holding you. You always wanted to be here. Because the first step to loving a drowning man is to be there.

This morning, when you received the call, you heard the violent shaking of water. Like the sea. Like a man being swallowed by the sea.

We found your lover with his wrist slit.

That image became a sword that left you in pieces. You wanted to throw away what was left of you. In front of a moving bus. From the top of a tall building. You felt betrayed. Your needs swallowed you for the first time. Maybe this was not about saving him. It was about you. He was your everything.