Writing by Romi Endelmanis // Photograph by Ramona Langner
Your lips part and they speak the worst thing I have ever been called: a waste.
Not for lack of other options, not when I have a whole life of words that have been thrown at me, words I never thought twice about until they applied to me and words I wonder that people could be so cruel as to even utter. It was the worst thing I’ve ever been called because of what those five, disarmingly innocent letters meant, really meant, when you spoke them. I could mercilessly tear those fragile letters apart, meticulously shred them until the marrow and roots and all of it was gone, the only thing left a curve of a lost ‘a’ or a strip of ink that could be from anything at all, but it wouldn’t change what they meant when you looked at me and let them out. Softly. Delicately. With all the brutality five letters could possibly hold. A killing blow in a singularly unremarkable form.
To me a waste is rubbish; trash. It’s something you hardly even think about, not like disappointment, an actual emotion for the thing before you. It isn’t heartbreak and it isn’t painful to see, feel, say, because a waste is the end. It is already broken, already beyond the point of holding onto, any chance of redemption long gone.
A waste is it. A thing to be forgotten. Once you’ve disposed of it, you’re not going to return to it, just to have a look at the destruction you got away from. Until your words hit me, stilled me, I had never really thought about it like that. I had certainly never thought about it in terms of myself, but in that moment I couldn’t help but feel the seconds of darkness, of fear and pain, creep eagerly inside of me. I couldn’t help but feel everything I wanted to have left behind, emotions that were upon me with all the force of a broken heart, hopefulness pouring out of a wound I thought I had hidden well enough to stop causing me any more damage, any more pain.
I felt myself sinking, eyes locked with yours, and it didn’t matter that it was you.
Just like it didn’t matter that it was me and that nothing else had triumphed in cracking me open, in making me feel so… powerless.
It didn’t matter that it hurt, not to you or to me – only to us, to who we were, people of sharp words and soft, of ends and beginnings and everything that comes between them.
I know how it could. I know I could tear myself apart and fall into a lie of believing I was less when really that’s not the truth at all and I know it. With every word I know it.
People are real. They bleed. They hurt – I bleed and hurt and am so afraid of exactly what it means to feel and hope and to believe in an end that is better than any present or past clouded by pain.
I’m not a waste and I tell you so. ‘Not at all, not even when I feel like it.’
Not for a moment. Not even for a second.[share]