I can’t recall the day of my birth, or, the day I was hatched. Memories have started to fade and I’m extremely lost. I’ve learned that the past means to give into the despair and horror regardless how ugly. Nevertheless, the future enhances the authentic premise of life, derived from past action. There are ways to build self-confidence, against all the negative voices that rear their ugly heads throughout our lifetime. There are indeed moments in life where clarity is something so lucid and vivid, that it could grace those memories as they house the prerequisite to comprehending the slight nuances of life.
Even now, I am nothing but a nymph. For millennia’s, I’ve relished the idea of real adulthood. I know you might want to romanticise the notion of forever. The truth is all things must come to an end, regardless of how many years they’ve aged upon our Earth Even now, I’m but a speck amidst all the dust. But, I'll tell you this, it did not begin in that fashion. In some of them, these ‘lives’, I was the victor. In others, the embattled and ready to surrender at the drop of a hat.
In fact, while, I have your attention let me tell you the story of Tristan…
It’s always the tales from our formative years that tend to haunt us the most but for a cockroach, those years could potentially exist for limitless amounts of time. I believe this happened when I was in Block K, which in human years equates to about 16 years or so. Cockroaches don’t age in the same fashion as humans do. We tend to suffer the same fate if we are seen—squished, rotisserie or simply impaled, for sake of argument. Cockroaches may not seem like it very much but, we are indeed a warrior race. We have our struggles, yes, and we bulldoze our way to a better stem of enlightenment.
Now, where was I…oh yes! I was about to tell you a story—one I’m sure you may want to read with a box of tissues.
As I mentioned, I was in Block K when one of my friends had attempted to kill herself…this Tristan. One day after school, when no one was home, she decided her fate. Can you imagine something so painful you feel the need that no day would be better lived? As she recanted all the dirty little details, she is lucky she did not perish. She took a razor from her brother and slit those little roach legs! There was so much roach blood and water blended together—it did not only look like a violent crime scene but an amalgamation of organic art. Can you imagine? Lying there in a pool of your own blood, wondering what is it that you’ve done wrong. Tristan’s eyes slowly started to flicker before she fell into a comatose sleep. She had slept for a day and a half before waking up to her mama roach’s tears.
“How could you do this to me?”
“Oh, how could I do this to you? What about me?”
It’s not enough that Tristan had to combat bullying at school, but to be treated in such a manner from your own parent is unprecedented. To come and face this fact was inconceivable to Tristan’s mother. Roachie boys would tease her like an ugly pig. I mean, a pig? Not even her species would agree with that! Once her mother departed, she was met with the head of psychiatry. With a slam of the books, the old roach looked at Tristan
“Well, what do we have here?”
Tristan was incensed, losing all faith in her grantor’s attitude. She was unable to comprehend, but once he left her alone, she felt the ability to breathe again.
Nevertheless, Tristan survived and continued to triumph again and again. Despite her victories, she did not feel valued at all—she wished for the pain to mysteriously disappear. Everything would just fade to black, forever…
I spoke to Tristan decades after the event. She admitted that her death wishes eventually made her stop. She is more confident; more vivacious for life. She is one of the few survivors that I know to this day.
No one ever thinks about how a cockroach is going to feel like a survivor. We are beyond adaptable creatures who can conquer some of the most extreme conditions. It’s been said so many times: ‘Suicide is a permanent problem for temporary situation’. To think of it any of the ways would be a genuine waste. She told me that life is meant to be lived although one antenna is shorter than the other. Her left wing has a tear; the result of a push pin impalement. She knows that her survival was essential to fulfill her destiny, by ensuring others don’t feel the dark. Suicide sounds like an irrational thing to do, but none of us will even know what is in another’s heart.
Rania M.M. Watts is a Palestinian-Canadian poet with an eventful past and humble future. Her latest publications are from KUBOA, 48th Street Press, and through her blog, Cement Covered Ink Quills, where she has interviewed and showcased creatives of all disciplines. She is a stay-at-home mother and knows how to top a pizza (seriously, she works as a call-in dispatcher for a pizza shop). Roach Print Anthology, curated by Watts, is available through Amazon. All proceeds will help support victims and survivors of mental disorders.