Letters to Stories: Behind “Invisible” and “Re: Invisible”

By Simon Heywood

What are my poems if they weren’t inspired by a tragedy in my life? These two poems I’ll be writing about, I decided to put them in one article because they both actually go hand in hand. Invisible and Re: Invisible I originally wrote as one long poem in my notes, and for quite some time I made it stay as one poem. As I kept looking at my account, I decided that a poem should not be that long and I should split it into two, which was very convenient because this poem was about two different people anyway. Of course, these two people in my life I had to give a different name for legality reasons and also to be a bit more subtle.

Invisible is about one of the first ever friendships I had when I was a first year in undergrad. I met him online over the summer on a “Class of” page and we talked a lot. Early on, we talked about some deep things, and I warned him that I have this other side to me that just having another side turns people away. He said in response, lightly, but with truth, that he has multiple colors to himself too. I didn’t take it too seriously because I wanted to start college with a new outlook, to see the best in people.

And how easy that intent was taken advantage of. I didn’t see that he would skip out in an instant the moment a mistake was made. He had a charm about him that masked that quick to flee tendency. There was this one day when we had a heart to heart moment, and we became closer. I thought things would get even better from there, but I was so far off. The downfall of our relationship was that he entered a sexual/romantic one, however, and even he realized it, his partner was manipulative, possessive, and controlling. One day he ended it with her, she contacted me, and because I wanted to see the best in people, I just wanted to give her the chance to have some closure. How wrong I was for doing that, because it cost me my friendship with this guy. The few moments after we went deeper and he said he would always be there for me, undone by this horrible mistake I made.

Re: Invisible was about one of the second most impactful relationships I had my first year of undergrad. In fact, the depth of this friendship was forged out of the loss of the guy mentioned above. The night I lost the first guy’s friendship, I was already growing familiar with this guy this second poem refers to. Familiar enough that he knew I was severely mentally unstable but he didn’t really care anyway. He was more of an optimist than I tried to be. When the first guy ended the friendship with me, I was an emotional wreck. I called this guy, to which the poem refers to as Bart, so we’ll use the same name here. I called Bart, in distress, and he ran out of his dorm to comfort me, take me for a walk so I could really express all of my emotions. No one had ever done that for me, so it was special.

What’s tragic about friendships that were created through despair is that they don’t last long. If you’re still recovering from a loss, you grow attached and perhaps overly attached to the new person in your life that shows you comfort. This is exactly what happened with Bart and me. We grew close, but we were both unstable in our own ways. However, he was so much more stable than I was and that’s what drew me to him.

During the whole time, I took for granted what was given to me. I would enjoy every moment I got to hang out with him, and he was always so kind. But there were times when I would be a bit sassy and sometimes not as nice as a friend should be, and those times got to him. However, he was pretty good at concealing what he felt. His subtly and slowly increasing anger was always invisible to me.

During this dark time for me, because of how unstable I was, I was also very impulsive. I said some things that were smaller jabs that led to a big explosion on both our ends. And that one day with a big explosion we said something that just ripped open all the wounds we carried and we couldn’t come back from it. I was so selfish I didn’t realize that after that, he didn’t want to be friends anymore nor did he want to make amends to the extent that I did. I was selfish and scared, and I did not want to lose another friend, and that sent me on a dark spiral. However, one thing to come out of that friendship was that he taught me first, to not take anything for granted, and second, to not be afraid to lose someone and on the flip side, to not be afraid to leave a situation that was toxic beyond anyone’s control.

Two losses not just in my first year of undergrad, but within its first semester. To this day I’m still afraid to lose people I care about, but I don’t take them for granted anymore, and I always take time to think about my actions, rather than letting loose and being impulsive. I’ve lost more friends since then, but I started to realize it was for the best. More and more, people come and go and I’ve started to realize that in certain cases, it wasn’t me that caused a rift in relationships, but rather these people’s perception of me that caused them to leave.

I try every day to live my life to its fullest, to live a life full of love and to project that love to others so they can feel happy too, and some people just perceive this life differently. Although I do recognize that sometimes there exists the difference between the intent of an action and its impact, and every day I am still learning to and trying to make sure that the intent of my actions match its impact, and that’s all I can do right now.

Both Invisible and Re: Invisible are out on my Instagram. Poems are released on my profile weekly on Sundays or Mondays.

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