Here/there // Claire Ellen

Content Warning: Suicide, mental health

One moment

You are leaving the hairdresser

A fresh do

The next

You are back

At the year 12 lockers

Did you do the

theatre homework?

No

You both laugh

You never do

We’ll just wing it

Are we seeing Jersey Boys

next week?

Yeah

You walk together

Enter the drama room

A safe space

A different world

A lifetime ago

Now

You are back

On the street

Unable to speak

The acting

Pretending

Masking

A much better reality

Than this bitter wind

And knowing you are gone

Jersey Boys next week?

Yeah

Done the homework?

No

Always no

And a laugh

Always a laugh

It drifts

From the lockers

Through the years

To me

Here

A fresh haircut

Feeling the icy wind

In a different way

I wrote this poem shortly after hearing the saddening and distressing news that someone from my high school had killed himself. His name was Mitch. I hadn't seen him for a long time but I remembered him fondly and felt his death deeply. Upon hearing that he had committed suicide, I had just come out of the hairdresser, a new haircut, a world away from his pain. I instantly remembered his big, bold, unapologetic laugh. It travelled through time, from our school lockers to me, standing on the footpath, a shorter fringe and the wind nearly knocking me over. Perhaps this poem was a way for me to express my own sadness and shock upon hearing about Mitch's departure from this world. But I also think it was a way for me to highlight his character. Always a laugh. I hope he's laughing wherever he is now. And the Theatre homework can wait. I hope he has found peace. Much love to Mitch, his close friends and family and anyone struggling with mental illness, this is for you.

@claireellen__