Illustration by Flynn Bryan

I am Hamlet as he contemplates and questions.
I am Sylvia as she locks the children upstairs then rushes to turn on the gas.
I as Vincent as he wanders lost into the field, holds the gun to his chest and pulls the trigger.

“The sadness with last forever,”  Vincent tells me. He wanted to touch people with his art. He wanted them to say ‘he feels deeply, he feels tenderly.’ I want the same thing. I want my words to fill people up from their insides out, like flowers in bloom. I want to inspire others and myself, like how Vincent inspires me. He had more passion than I could ever imagine, enough to fill a room, enough to fill his heart. But he ran out of another key ingredient: hope, something I don’t really have either. Hopefully passion is enough for me. I want to take everything I’m feeling and share it. I want be be clear and concise and straight to the point. Make it larger than life but make it real. Let other people know they’re not alone. I don’t want the sadness to last forever. But there is a lot of it.

Dearest Sylvia whispers to me “Is there no way out of the mind? I talk to God by the sky is empty.” She was stuck in a fortress of her own mind. She didn’t know how to escape. I don’t think you can. I think you can try but there won’t be much of you left afterwards. But I do think that there are gardens within the castle’s walls. With flowers and cold calming air, somewhere you can stop to just, exist. You just have to know how to find them, is it possible this I am sure of.

She knew that we are alone. In life. In our minds. But she didn’t learn how to share what she was feeling. To let people in. How to be alone, together. Something I’d like to start to practice.

Hamlet asks me the question. The one everyone has been asking. The one I’m trying to find the answer too. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles and, by opposing, end them.” Something is always better than nothing. I hope. I hope that I always have something that is better than the nothing. I hope that there is always a little bit of ‘okay’ that makes the pain worth it. I just want to feel okay. Don’t we all?

I am Vincent with my hands pressed tightly to my chest trying to take back the damage of the bullet. I run through the cornfield to find my brother. He needs to know what I’ve done. Maybe a doctor can fix me, maybe this doesn’t have to be the end.

His art lines my walls.

I am Sylvia as I back away from the oven. Turning off the gas and catching my breath. Catching myself. I turn to run upstairs to let the children out.

Her words sit in a book beside my bed.

I am Hamlet. Still contemplating but not as seriously. His questions don’t rule me anymore.

His thoughts line the inside of my mind, but they are his. Not mine.

They all gave me words to describe what I was feeling when I could not do so myself.
We are the same.
But we are very different .

Because I will feel what they feel but make it my own.
Yet I will not make it a death sentence.