thirty.

This isn’t for any of you.

It’s not even for me.

This is for six year old him sitting on the staircase, hearing the roar of words, of hate, of something not for him; something he would not escape.

This is for eight year old him hiding under the bed, wrapped in blankets, right where they knew to find him.

This is for ten year old him staring at the glow-in-the-dark stars on his ceiling, wondering what it would be like not to see, not to understand, to feel whole.

For twelve year old him drinking apple juice in that hospital on leave from school.

For sixteen year old him driving ninety miles an hour. Driving to no where. Driving only away.

For seventeen year old him running along the beach in the pitch black, feeling every soul-deep hum, every drip, every mournful tune of 808s and Heartbreak. Feeling death, before he knew it.

For eighteen year old him hearing the heartbeat fade, staring at the cold linoleum, knowing death, feeling nothing.

For twenty year old him drunk and alone on the phone with dad wondering who the hell this is. Asking how to be a brother, a son, a man, a friend. Asking how to live.

For twenty two year old him spiraling on the carpet or whipsawed manic buying a whiteboard at Target near midnight. (Reminder: when the drugs finally work, that doesn’t mean you should stop taking them.)

For every him who imagined the feeling of cold steel on his temple.

For every sleepless hour he and he and he and he spent ruminating in shame and regret and malice.

For every him who could not stop the darkness tearing within.

To every him who never thought he’d live to see thirty.

We made it.