Continued from the previous article.
In this second-to-last line, the narrator recalls burying a handmade Batman costume in his backyard, then not being able to find it again years later. They end this stanza with the famous lines “How can something be there, and then not be there? How do we forgive ourselves for all the things we did not become?” The narrator wishes for parts of their childhood that they can no longer find; a Batman costume can represent so many things — the dreams that became overshadowed by reality, the heroes they can’t look up to anymore, the battles to protect what they loved, the exciting uncertainty of i-could-be-anything, etc.. As time passed, the protection of the costume — the ideas of innocence, of dreams, of heroes and idols, has disappeared. The other detail here is that the costume was put together with a bundle of unmatching clothings by the narrator. This disorganization could either indicate the carefreeness of childhood, or it could be that the narrator’s upbringing had been skewed in some way, so that even in their youth it took efforts to pretend to be Batman.
If the costume had a romantic connotation, this line is most likely explaining how the narrator had tried their best to change into someone who was easily loved, and ended up losing themselves. Batman is a universally-celebrated hero, someone that is strong and powerful, someone that the narrator has tried to be for their partner. While it is ambiguous as to whether the change came from the narrator’s distorted view of relationships, or if their partner has asked them to, the damage has still been done, and by the time the narrator had realized that they were someone completely different, it was too late. No amount of digging or burying could bring them back. Unlike the suicide note interpretation, this one portrays the Batman costume as a negative symbol, and this contrast stems from the fact that the costume is a sign of a dreamer, which could easily be a good quality on a child, but not so much on an adult in a relationship.
The last line begins with another seemingly unimportant detail — the narrator has bought the bright green sheets they have been too afraid to use in the past. For someone who knows they’re about to die, this is an act of letting go — accepting that no matter what they do in the next few days, the ending would remain the same. To analyze further, the narrator has stated that they always felt like the bright green would be too brash, even though no one else would see them, indicating that they have finally decided to be true to themselves, to embrace a part of their persona — such as a mental illness — that they used to push away not for other people’s likings but for their own ego. They have taken off their façade, but even doing such a significant gesture could not bring back their will to live. The narrator did not change in their last days hoping to see any positive consequences, but only because they had nothing to lose. Perhaps the saddest thing in a suicide is that you could do any sort of preparation beforehand but none of which would matter the moment the trigger is pulled– every preparation is for someone else, someone who is unsuspecting of your death.
In a love letter, the last line grows even more significant. “I knew you would like them.” The narrator has clearly said that no one else would see the bright green sheets — so where does their lover stand? Is this implying that the narrator loved them so much that they see them as a part of themself? Either way, ending on the note of what their partner would like to see shows how much love the narrator has for them. Sheets are a sign of intimacy, something you only share with your romantic partners, and so altogether this last line is really about how the narrator and their lover are so close that they almost melt into each other. Perhaps that is the greatest form of love– to become each other, to abolish any sense of “you” or “me” or “yours” or “mine,” because you are yourself and you are each other. And that is why these lines work so well as both love letters and suicide notes. To love someone fully would mean to lose a part of your original identity.
Verdict: Love Letter or Suicide Note?
Both. The possibilities are endless: a love letter written to a lover and a suicide note for the parts of yourself that you had before you met them; a love letter written to yourself as a final act of having nothing more to lose and a suicide note for a loved one before you end it all. Death may not be inherently romantic, but one thing for certain — to love is to die.
The 2am writer that lives in the mind of sixteen-year-old Yun-Fei Wang has been taking over her sanity for a few years now, tearing her lifeline down, yet building up an escapism in the same breath. Find her in the evanescence of black-inked words, or at @rainofelsewhere on Instagram.