Life in Limbo by Ellen Ricks

       Death sits in the corner, keeping his distance. I watch him like a jilted lover, He has spurred my advances eight times. I have a right to be bitter.

       Seven of those times the fault has been mine. Seven suicide attempts is more of a humiliating confession than a tragedy. A mark of dreadful incompetence than anything else. I had been tired, over my head in deep pain and self-inflicted heartache that I couldn’t hold on any longer. Wanting an out, wanting a break. I’ve always been left wanting.

       I had thrown myself at death, like a drunk party girl at two in the morning, hoping to fall into the arms of a Prince Charming, or at least someone with a decent car and passable ability to fuck.  

       Death side swept me. Dodged my blundering advances and left me to duke it out with harsh, fluorescent light of reality. Tossed me back into the cold air of survival. A fresh breath of a tired life. It was my own fault, my own rotten luck. Not even a passable fucking over.

       The other time I was fifteen in the hospital, the pediatric intensive care unit. Four short hours earlier a team of medical experts had their hands deep into my body, straightening my spine with titanium to make me stronger.

        I was flatlining instead.

       I don’t remember much of my surroundings or what was going on. All of that meant so little then, and age blurs over the edges of all memories. What I do remember is what it lacked, the bright lights at the end of a long dark tunnel, the visions or the harps, or anything else they try to sell you.

       What I do remember was the release. The fact that I felt the infinite and instead of fighting it my soul opened her metaphorical arms let go.

       But nothing happened.

       I landed back into my body, confused and rejected, in the hospital for another week.

       Life goes on.


       Carpe diem: seize the day, the battle cry of the survivors. The ones who came back after car accidents, surgical malpractices, and dizzying falls and now cling tightly to every second of their stolen moments. They vow to their chosen deity that for extra boost added onto their warranty that they would live each day to the fullest. Skydiving, trips around the world, climbing physical and metaphorical mountains.

       This theory is something that I do agree with, I had been given this time and this life; I might as well make the most of it. Maybe that’s why I throw myself into everything. My writing, my relationships, my obsessions. Trying to build meaning, to build some kind of worth. To prove to some unseen ghost that the investment he had made on me was indeed a good bet. I wanted to be deemed worthy, a title I’ve yearned for most of my life. It always seems just out of reach.

       However, not every moment can be filled with dramatic vitality. There is still some filler moments: standing in line for coffee, sitting on the bus, enduring a headache. All the things any normal person does, but to a survivor, these mundane moments bring bitter waves of guilt. I’m wasting my life. I survived for this? Why am I still here? Why am I still here?

       I’m still here. Still doing nothing.


       This is the question I shout at death in the corner. Why did you reject me all the times I ran to you. I had let go, I was yours. You had taken so many others, only to keep me here and watch me die slowly. Watch as my system slowly shut down like a dimmer switch. Turning my love ones against me. What kind of game is this? Am I suppose to write this? Give the last pieces of myself to the vultures, a human sacrifice to the cause I did not wish to be apart of?  When is it my turn to do something good? When do I get to the see the justification of my existence? The mural of my life that should have been finished years ago continues, with beautiful new colors as well as horrible scars. For what?

       Death does not answer me. Death does not care.

       It’s only the time he gives you, not the meaning behind it.

Ellen Ricks is a writer, feminist, and Hufflepuff. Her work has appeared in a variety of websites and online journals such as Argot Magazine, Gods and Radicals and Beneath the Rainbow and others.  When not writing, Ellen enjoys consuming pumpkin spice everything, frolicking in fancy dresses and dismantling the patriarchy. Follow her on Twitter @deathbydiamond and check out her blog