Expo Sanctus Espiritus (Trigger Warning)



Isaiah opened his eyes, not realizing they had ever been closed. His face was flattened against a pillow that he’d never washed once in his life, his saliva dried and sticking to his face. It was the only sensation he could register, the rest of him felt numb. Except his mind, the second he registered that he was awake his thoughts immediately and obsessively drifted.

No one called you. You slept in. Wasted your day. You’re useless, you’re not happy, you’ll never be happy. No one likes you, you’ll never be okay.

It was like background noise, or tinnitus, Isaiah fished around for his earbuds and stuck them in his ears. He chose a song at random, setting it to loop, and turned the volume up as far as it would go to the point his phone warned him of potential hearing damage.

“Sanctus Espiritus redeem us from our solemn hour,
Sanctus Espiritus insanity is all around us!”

The noise drowned out his thoughts as Isaiah checked his phone, no notifications. No one called, no one texted, no one messaged him. Isaiah started at his phone, he didn’t know what day it was until he checked. Sunday, two o’clock. He had indeed wasted his entire day, one of the two days he had off work. Spent sleeping.

Slowly he sat up, he was still wearing the same old jeans and black t-shirt that he had been for the last three days. He chugged water from a bottle he kept by his bed and it washed away some of the grime in his mouth and throat. He plopped back down in bed, unwilling to get up. There wasn’t much reason to, what would he do? He scrolled on his phone, for what felt like five minutes but turned out to be thirty. Until the heaviness of not moving outbid the desire to remain in bed.

“Can't believe my eyes
How can you be so blind?
Is the heart of stone, no empathy inside?
Time keeps on slipping away and we haven't learned
So in the end now what have we gained?”

Isaiah had a breakfast of fried eggs, shit coffee, and a cigarette. All tasted like near nothing except heat and a vague texture. His mouth was gummy and everything felt so lethargic. He ate at his computer desk, it was still on from last night where it opened to an in-progress google doc. Lyrics, rather incoherent ones, strung together in a melody Isaiah couldn’t recall. He briefly removed his earbuds to try and hear the melody through his lyrics in his mind.

Instead all he heard was: You’ll never finish it, it's shit anyway, no one likes it, no one cares, even if you did finish it no one would listen.

He attempted to focus on the lyrics, but he could scarcely even focus on the words, it was like he was cross eyed. It seemed rather pointless anyway, maybe he’d finish it, share it with friends, they’d ignore it or give him some vague praise lacking nuance just to be polite. But no one would be moved by his work, no one would think about it for more than a second. So why should he? Isaiah put his earbuds back in.

“Are they themselves to blame, the misery, the pain?
Didn't we let go, allowed it, let it grow?
If we can't restrain the beast which dwells inside
It will find its way somehow, somewhere in time
Will we remember all of the suffering
'Cause if we fail it will be in vain”

Still no messages, he hadn’t talked to anyone in a week. No one wanted to talk to him, probably because he was a downer, probably because all he talked about was how down he felt, because that's all he talked about. That and his shit songs.

He looked around his desk, every inch was stained with coffee and tobacco. There was a pile of mail and papers which he poked at. Bills, bills he could barely pay, he would have enough by next week but then barely anything for food. Certainly not enough to afford the fast food Isaiah kept ordering to do his door because he hadn’t the desire nor the energy to cook for himself anymore.

There was another letter, from his mom, typed and not written by hand. He didn’t want to look at it, it just reminded him of what he was trying to avoid. His dad was dead, and he couldn’t go to the funeral, he couldn’t afford a ticket. His mom had reminded him that it was his fault, his fault he was a broke deadbeat, his fault he’d never gotten a proper job, his fault he wasted all his money. His fault.

Isaiah checked his phone. Still no messages.

He got up and went to the washroom, which was also filthy. He looked at himself in the mirror. He hated his eyes, he hated his white hair and pale skin, everyone who ever teased him was right; he was an ugly bastard. No one wanted to look at him, no one would ever love him, he didn’t look good, think good, act good, there was nothing good about him. No one. What was the point?

Isaiah grabbed his keys and went outside in the same dirty jeans and sweater he’d slept in. To where his motorcycle sat waiting. It was the only thing he ever cleaned or maintained, though he hadn’t had insurance on it in forever. He’d just drive away from the cops if they tried to pull him over; he wished they’d chase him longer than they did. It made Isaiah feel alive.

He didn’t bother with a helmet and just started riding, the wind blew against the sweat and grease that coated him and forced out the gunk just enough. He felt awake for just a minute. Revving the engine he went far beyond the speed limit. He rode until he made it to the Roberto Clemente Bridge.

It was early in the morning and the stress were empty. Isaiah pulled up to the side of the bridge and hopped off his bike. He liked it up here, he liked high places. They felt freeing, like he was a bird perched or something. He’d tried to explain the feeling in his lyrics, but it never came out right.

That's because you’re shit and you’ll never be good.

Isaiah turned his music up and checked his messages. Still none. He scrolled down to Hazel’s name. It was early, she might be awake, dumbass always had the weirdest sleep schedule. His finger hovered over her name. He thought of what he would say, how he would spill out to her that he was… he was what? Insane, manic, depressed? It was too much, too much to put on her. Isaiah remembered the first few times he’d revealed a percentage of what was in his head to her, the concern, if he told her the rest? No one could take that burden, she’d leave, block him, and she’d never talk to him again. And she’d be right.

No one called. No one messaged. No one listened to his songs. No one cared. Isaiah fingered the beads around his neck, trying to remember the words of the divine chaplet, he couldn’t remember them. He couldn’t bring himself to say God’s name. Not when his feet teetered on the edge of the bridge and the water was all he could see.

Why, why not, maybe then they’d care, maybe then he could finally have some say and pull in his life. Maybe his songs would be looked over as brilliant, the last words of a man about to die. It wasn’t like it mattered anyway, he’d never have a wife, or kids, not like he’d wanted, he’d never have people depend on him or need him. Isaiah thought himself inconsequential, even as he took a step forward.

He saw himself, from above, the cold water absorbed his body. It sank, hard and fast, his eyes were still open. It was cold.

“Sanctus Espiritus…”

It was getting darker, something was tugging at him, pulling him upwards, or was it downwards? Directions had no meaning.

“Sanctus Espiritus…”

Whispers, whispers all around. Laughs, a joke, a smile, voices. His friends. Hazel, her eyes lighting up when she saw him.

“Sanctus Espiritus…”

He was sinking deeper. Isaiah cried out, his hands reaching out, towards his own arm, his own body. This wasn’t right. Hazel, Hazel would cry, his friends would cry. Their voices swirled around him, mixing with other sounds, the sound birds and the wind, people laughing, voices singing. He smelt fresh pancakes and bacon, incense from Sunday service. It all mixed together with the crying whine of a guitar riffing through the void. Gritting his teeth Isiah lunged forward and grabbed his own wrist.

In a moment he was cold and wet, water filled his lungs, but he felt no need to breathe. He pushed out, and the water retreated. The waves parted for him like the wind was cutting through them, and everything came suddenly back into clear focus.


Isaiah launched himself with these winds that seemed to bend at his command onto the shore, he heaved and retched and the water came free from his stomach and lungs. But there was no pain.


Isaiah remained on his hands and knees shaking, not from cold, but from something else. His throat let go a sound, he was crying, and laughing, and screaming. His fingers dug into the sand of the bank, everything just coming out at once.



Eventually Isaiah ran out of tears and he collapsed, he felt… light. He was soaked, yet didn’t feel as cold as he should have. Though he wasn’t warm either. It was like all that weighed on him was just for a moment relieved. He fished out his phone, which amazingly still worked and was still playing on loop. He paused his music and scrolled through his contacts. He clicked on Hazel’s name.

“Good morning,” he typed.

“Good morning!” Hazel replied almost at once, Isaiah smiled.