Lifeline pen – parts 2 and 3 – The long goodbye

Dear Lucy,

Shit’s getting real. That pen I wrote to you about recently – the green lifeline one (where I had the feeling, when it ends, so will I) – is literally hanging on by a pale, inky thread.

Whilst I don’t think of myself as superstitious, I’m getting a bit concerned. I’m taking extra care crossing the road and thinking twice about taking the tube. I’ve created my own monster, which I’ve always been jolly good at.

So this morning I’ve decided to let that pen represent an ending, but not mine.

I’m going to let it represent to the part of me that has always tried not to die so that my parents wouldn’t have to lose another child. Only this week it occurred to me that by trying not to die, I’ve never really tried to live. That woke me up on a Monday morning.

So I’m going to take that pen, writing with its last bits of life the words to describe what it is that I’m saying goodbye to. There probably won’t be enough ink to say all that needs to be said, but I’ll have a new pen at the ready to take over the job, so it knows that things won’t be left unfinished.

It always fascinates me how things like this come together at what seems like just the right time. The pen, the thought about dying and living, the desperate need for something else for that pen to represent. Fortuitous, serendipitous, spooky, whatever the word, I can’t explain it, but it feels just like the click of a lid on a nice new, juicy pen.

Part 3

It’s been a while since I’ve written. I’ve been busy writing with the green pen – the lifeline pen. Turns out, it wasn’t running out of ink, it just had a dicky nib. But this morning, it finally ran out.

As you know, I’d wanted to write a goodbye to the life I’ve not lived. Turns out that neither of us were ready to say goodbye.

At first, the pen had a slightly despairing tone. It grew weary of my wanting it to end. It knowing it wasn’t ready yet, me frantically writing away trying to make this symbolic ceremony happen. I have the tissues! I have the new juicy pen (to continue writing with)! Bla.  

The pen wrote on.

More and more the pen’s tone was becoming obnoxious and superior. I could feel it’s intrusion starting to silence me.

It reminded me of those arrogant alpha male types who invade your space on the bus – legs wide, elbows out. They take other people’s space because – like everything else – it never occurs to them that it doesn’t belong to them.

I didn’t like this bloody pen. I wanted to throw it deep down into the bin. Throwing back with it my anger and the weakness that had never been mine.

But somehow I couldn’t throw the pen away, not before its natural end. I knew it was old and wouldn’t last long, but it wasn’t taking me with it. Oh no.

So I asserted my will and I took back the life force of the pen. I am Claire, and this is my pen, hear it fucking roar! Point made.

It turned out that this was what the pen had been for – to find my will, to reclaim some power. Instead of saying a sentimental goodbye, I unleashed my wrath and got a bit biblical. I even killed some people off, but my compassion, with the help of the pen, gave them a reprieve.

I gave myself a reprieve too. I’d done my best with what I had. I had been alone. The blame for a life not lived, didn’t lie entirely at my door.

So I am done with the past, and whilst I sense the past hasn’t quite done with me (is it ever?), at least I have its attention.

The ink by now, really was running dry and I knew it was the end, the pen and I were ready. In its last words it gave me the gift of a new voice. My sister, who, from beyond the grave assured me, “Claire, everything’s going to be alright.”

Published by CP

Passionate about getting everyone writing to find, come back to, or express themselves. Check out Instagram: @cpsdayoff and @writeenjoyrepeat where everyday people share why they love to write and hopefully inspire you to pick up a pen. For more info:

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