That will be it


Jessie Warren

One of the many gallery walls as the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. The paintings there never move—even empty frames have to remain where they originally were. That is what this goodbye feels like.

She loves metaphors.

Because for her, there has always been something comforting about the shield they provide. Flowers are known by numbers of names, but the non-scientific ones almost always sound sweeter—they pull listeners in and keep them guessing. That, for her, is the power of a metaphor. 

Besides analogy, there are many other things she adores. The feeling of ink spilling over onto homemade paper, the way flame burns across the page as she reads in front of a hearth, and the melodic refrain of repetitious music as it sounds from all around her.

These, amongst others, are a few.

She has been making many metaphors recently, devoting almost all her hours to the craft. She isolates herself in a room with curtained windows, and each exhale she charters breathes new life onto the page. There is not enough time for all the poetry that spins in her mind—poems of hospital beds and hypocrisy, poems of bloodlines that drip like maple syrup from her family tree. 

Yet—in all this time that she has been winding words around her fingers like thread framed in a periwinkle glow—the metaphors have dried up. She becomes me, and I her. And I have no words with which to guard myself any longer. 

This is my last real column. 

Unlike the pattern that has coated these days in thickly-plastered glue, holding on, there will not be another column the following Monday. There won’t be an interview deadline looming over my already clouded mind. The mosaic route that extends from Room 139 to the art computer lab will close its doors to me, and I’ll no longer scramble from computer to computer, helping navigate the convoluted cobweb that is InDesign. 

That will be it.

I was talking with my therapist the other day about finding a word to define this—a collection of syllables that I can tether these feelings to. We settled on bittersweet, but that still does not feel big enough. 

There will never be a metaphor that shields this pain enough. The allegory that once turned these stories into shadows on her walls has fallen, and she can never go back. Neither can I.

Still, similes don’t always have to be happy.

My canvases will remain on these walls—contrasting in their complexities and dusting over with age, but never wavering in their ability to stay stagnant. Each word I’ve poured onto the page will solidify and stick, and even as the hours pass by in five-minute moments, there will always be a part of me here.

I love metaphors.

Because, for me, there has always been something beautiful about the way they last. Flowers slip under the soil each winter, hiding from the parts of life that may leave them frozen.

And even when the ground below us is sprinkled with fresh seeds each spring, the antiquated petals are still there.

Peaking from behind a technicolor bulb.

A voice within a garden.

Still just as spectacular.