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Semicolon: A True Story

TaJuan is an aspiring writer hoping to gain experience and growth through publishing passionate works, like this one, online for the world.

People often ask me “why a semicolon? Out of all the things to get tattooed on your hand, a semicolon, really? Is it because you’re an English major?” While yes, as an English major, I do appreciate the semicolon to a heightened degree compared to the common person, that appreciation is only surface level. The semicolon hides so much symbolic weight to it. For me, and many others, this simple mixture of a period and a comma, is a symbol against suicide. I know, I know. To those out of the know, this sounds insane. Well, let me explain even further.

In literature, the semicolon has one use: to connect two independent clauses together. An independent clause, for those who are unaware, is language jargon for a complete sentence; hence, the author had the ability, and the means, to end the sentence, but they chose not to. Now, take this concept but relate it to life. If one’s life was a book, no, just one long sentence, the period would act as the end of one’s life. Therefore, by placing the semicolon there, it demonstrates the willingness to live on. I hear you, “a beautiful sentiment indeed, yet, does one ever actually and knowingly put a semicolon on their lives?” The short answer: yes. The long answer, well, I have a story for you.

I was way too high. I couldn’t tell you how much I ingested, or how much I smoked. All I could tell you was that my body rejected all of it. My friends watched as I spouted nonsense that would be hard pressed to be labeled as English. My body moved on its own, contorting and spasming around like I was possessed. At times, I would go limp, and I would feel normal again, until the process repeated seemingly for infinity. Everything was so loud in my head, though silence and fear surrounded the atmosphere. I began to yell and scream as if I were in pain, convinced that whatever I had was laced. Paranoia high, I didn’t know much at that time except one thing for certain: I was going to die.

I eventually laid down, exhausted from the constant movement. I felt as though my soul was leaving my body. My friends asked if I needed anything, subconsciously elated that I had finally calmed down, but fear was the only emotion perceivable from their voices. I only asked for a pillow to hold. To this day, I am unsure why I asked for that pillow. I do remember feeling like, for the first time in a long time, I had someone. I had someone to hold. Maybe that’s why I started to tear up after the fact, which made my upcoming death feel all the more sad. No one would know how lonely I felt inside. No one would know all I wanted was to feel loved again. Not familial love, or platonic love, but romantic love. The love only a significant other can produce, and I was severely malnourished in that regard. So, with the drugs overtaking my body and a broken heart to boot, I had felt that my time was now. I didn’t fight, nor did I struggle. I was ready to see the beyond; but then, I wasn’t.

I suddenly leaped from my laid position, and sprang to the door, all while the feeling of my soul escaping my body continued on. I was running out of time. I was trying to make it to the water fountain at the end of the hall. Water, the only cure I knew, for it had saved me in times like this before. I slowly crawled my way to that fountain of life in a way best described as cinematic, until finally, seemingly at the last possible moment, I made it there. I drank for a long time. I felt the life return to my body, slowly but surely. Grateful would probably be the best word to describe my then emotions, for I am definitely grateful I am still here to share this story for you today. Eventually, I will be ready to die, but I am nineteen years old; my time has not come yet. Thus, I keep this semicolon on me at all times to remind me of that truth. The truth that I wasn’t ready; I wasn’t ready for the period.


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