If my love were an ocean,
there would be no more land.
If my love were a desert,
you would see only sand.
If my love were a star—
late at night, only light.
And if my love could grow wings,
I’d be soaring in flight.
—Jay Asher, 13 Reasons Why—
This past weekend, I finally closed the book 13 Reasons Why, but it doesn’t feel like the story’s over. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Jay Asher’s novel (or the Netflix series based on it), 13 Reasons Why is a dual narrative told by Hannah Baker and Clay Jensen. Hannah leaves behind 13 audiotapes where she documents the 13 reasons why she committed suicide, and Clay is one of the recipients of these tapes.
13 Reasons Why was not a book that I could finish in one sitting. This story was unnerving, heart-wrenching, and clever in its telling. There were many places throughout the book that demanded you to feel what Hannah went through, whether you liked it or not.
This poem, however, surprised me and stayed with me. To me, this poem represented a glimpse of hope, a moment when Hannah found a way to be okay through poetry. There’s a misconception of depression that it’s just a looming dark cloud of eternal sadness, but it’s not: there are rays of light that pierce through the clouds, little moments of peace, and in those moments, you’re able to breathe again. Until it passes. And that’s the cruelness of depression: you can get a brief reprieve from the rain only to drown in the storm.