Today is semicolon day. Semicolons are kind of ambiguous as far as grammar goes; you either don’t know what they do at all, or; you abuse them. Guess which category I am in?
I love semicolons. When I was in elementary, and later middle school, teachers would get on my case for writing waaay too long sentences. When I learned how to use semicolons, this seemed to solve the problem. Ever since, I have happily sprinkled my writing with them wherever I feel they are necessary.
However, a semicolon is much more than just a grammatical tool. In recent years, it has become a powerful tool in the battle for mental health awareness.
Semicolon tattoos started appearing as the result of a social media movement in 2013, and is a way for people to express their struggles, progress or victory over their own demons, or to remind themselves that it’s not yet over.
For a very long time, I have had a small tidbit in my brain that I have been unable to write down, however, once I did write it, it came out nothing like what I had imagined in my mind. As usual.
In any case, I thought today would be the perfect time to share this little piece.
Please read, and don’t be shy to comment if you liked it~
The small, spartan apartment was unnaturally clean, and unnaturally cold. All surfaces seemed to have been meticulously cleaned of excess belongings, cleaned and dusted. A wastepaper bin was the only thing bearing witness to any kind of massive cleaning; it was overfilled with balled-up paper, one such ball having fallen out, landing a few centimeters away from the bin. It was as if the tenant had gotten rid of any kind of personal effects and purposely turned off the heat, even though it was in the middle of winter, and the sane thing to do would be to keep the heating cranked up.
To anyone unfamiliar with the tenant, it could have seemed like he was someone who didn’t possess a lot of things. Perhaps someone who was in the process of moving, who had left nothing but the essentials for the time being; or perhaps, just gone away for a period of time and turned the heat off in the meantime, to save expenses. The faintly unpleasant odor might have been thought to come from a forgotten garbage bin in a kitchen cupboard.
To anyone, except to the man who had once been closer to him than anyone, who still loved the parts of him that he had loved, before it all went wrong and became too much for both of them to handle.
Standing in the unnaturally clean apartment, he had instantly noticed objects missing from their regular positions – before he had noticed the body.
His trembling hand was curled around a plastic cup patterned with mascot characters. He sat hunched forwards on the very edge of the bed, watching the paramedics.
The young man was cold. Not only from the freezing temperature in the apartment. The man on the bed tried to avoid looking at the marks on his throat. His gaze shifted, falling on thin, scarred arms instead. He knew those scars were only the tip of an iceberg, an ice berg which had now surfaced in its entirety.
He heard one of the paramedics commenting on the small tattoo on the inside of the young man’s wrist, his tone questioning. Maybe he thought it was only a scribble in marker or something, maybe he was looking for some kind of deeper meaning.
“It’s a semi-colon,” he heard himself, his voice hollow, echoing in the cleared-out space.
Symbolic. Victorious. Hopeful.
“A semi-colon is where the author could have chosen to end the sentence, but didn’t.”
He averted his eyes, feeling his throat tighten painfully.
The young man had written on, hesitantly, but the full stop had been unavoidable.