Papyrus winning entry# 1 – Prose
Shreshta Bhat is a writer for the Editorial Board and a student of Computers and Communication. She can usually be found scribbling scrappy poems in her math notebook when she’s too bored in class. Possessed with a healthy obsession with the macabre, she spends her free time pursuing stories that nobody else looks for, endlessly ruminating on the point of existence and attempting to gain the affections of her cat.
A letter to my past self
You sit on the cold floor, entombed in the walls of your unfinished work. Thinking, or perhaps not thinking – your mind becomes a home to thoughts like these anyway; and it isn’t easy to tell the difference between home and a seasonal trip to the cemetery when you cannot remember the last time you had felt alive.
You spend most of your days scrolling down your news feed – uninterested and numb, coming up with absurd analogies to make yourself laugh. The other days, in a warped sense of the word, make you feel more alive – those are the worse ones.
It’s different when the blade is tear stained, but how does it matter? If the red on your dress is a reassurance of life or a map to non-existence? You don’t even remember the last time you had worn a dress. Dresses get you thinking about funerals, and you get rid of the t-shirt you’ve been wearing to put on that white lace dress. When someone knocks on your world a week later, you open, and they look at you – the messy hair, the rotten mascara, and the unwashed dress. The unmasked disgust sends you spiraling into the same, and it’s one of those other days again.
Now, when the tears threaten to choke you and someone whispers abhorrence and worthlessness in your ears, when you scroll past your contact list – trying to find someone who’ll tell you otherwise and an hour later, when your hand reaches under your bed for the blade again, I wish you’d run it over the scars lining your wrists instead, and look closer – at the red scabs, at the battle beneath. Every cell in your body desperately holding on to dear life, for you. I wish I could point out how you are not one, but millions of cells and mechanisms working together, that will be repeated a million times in the few minutes it takes for you to bleed out.
That it happens every second, even those moments you spend pretending to not exist. The blue veins underneath are not rivers of poison, like you scribbled in your diary that night. The blue is but venom inside your mind that paralyses you; a chemical coincidence under your skin that the sun illuminates; it is art, a poem you probably scrolled past through. That no matter what the world makes you see, underneath, you’re still alive.
You’ve never been the kind of person who breaks vases in fits of anger.
And I know you’d smile, because you and I, we exist to discover beauty in the strangest of places and even now, nothing feels stranger than the way my fingers dance across the keyboard.
– by Sreshta Bhat