2:24 am September 24, 2018. I’ve been awake since 12:30, waking from another dream about being led into an impossibly convoluted death trap by a combination of bad guidance of uncaring companions while driving a vehicle that fails to operate in ridiculous, cartoon-like ways. Then once in this trap I must escape dragging these companions with me as they’re performing some inane and pointless act, oblivious to my plight or the frustrating ways the world is deteriorating around us, preventing any escape.
I sit up and slowly swing my legs over the side of my bed. I’m shaking, my skin feels clammy, like wet cloth clinging to me. And there’s a faintly burning emptiness in my chest and a growing pain at the base of my skull. I realize that my teeth are clenched tight like a twisted down vice, fighting to keep the hole in my chest from opening more. I focus on relaxing my jaw and the muscles in my neck and the growing headache fades to a manageable level. That’s when I feel the smoldering hole at the center of me turn to a flaming pit. My hand goes to my chest in an attempt to grab the flame and extinguish it. Shuddering, I think of you and begin to cry and the tears start putting out the fire. I’ve learned to let the tears come and they fill the hole in my heart. After what seems like a week the shaking dies away. My thoughts are still of you. Are you sleeping well? What you’re dreaming? I try to quiet the voice in my head that wants me to go back to that old familiar dark place that she thinks was so safe. I refuse as politely as possible to not anger her because that’s when she gets mean.
Glancing at the clock I see it’s now almost 2 am. I sigh in resignation and admit to myself that it’s going to be another one of those nights. So, I turn to pacing around my still dark apartment, light doesn’t seems like a pleasant thing right now, and continue the conversation with that voice. Now, it’s my turn to ask the questions.
Speaking out loud to gently yet firmly get the point across that I’m the one who has the floor now I begin with asking, “why does it have to be like this?”
Ok… “What is it about me that’s so wrong and so undesirable? What do I still have to change?”
“Um… Alright then. Am I simply going to have to accept that I will never have the companion that I know that I deserve? One who is all of the things that she is, or at least the most important things? Do I have to settle for either being alone or being with someone who simply isn’t what I want?”
Still no answer.
Fine. We’ll walk this around the house for a while. We’ve got nowhere pressing to be…
As the questions pour out of me I notice how many of them are same old ones. Many of those that have already been answered as best they can be, or I simply don’t want to accept them right now. Some of them that the answer to seemed vague to me. Call me dense but sometime I need to have it spelled out for me. I start to get angry. Then the voice decides to pipe up again…
“See? That’s why we’re better back in my room,” the voice says. “That’s where the only person is that will tell you everything you need to hear. The only person who will protect you. You’re already falling back on the old ways right now anyway. It’s easier, familiar, and far safer for you!”
I can feel the smile cross her face. It’s not an evil grin by any means as she’s really only trying to protect me. That’s her job. But, that’s the thinking that has always kept me from growing, from being happy. Now her mild smugness has a different effect on me than in the old days. I decide it’s time to address this voice by name.
“Mildred”, I say a bit louder to reinforce to her that it’s still my turn to drive, ” we’re gonna use something that we’ve found works. We’re going to work this and write it out. I know you feel it’s easier wallow in bed and fantasize about how it could be or should be but we’re doing it my way now.”
The lights come on both figuratively and literally. Time to get to work…
3:55 am, I’m sitting at my computer, and I think that I’m coming to the end of morning of tears, pain, realization, remembering, acknowledgement, and working it through. Black Balloon just played and I smile, still thinking of you but without sadness laying under the thoughts. I let my gratitude take it’s turn. I’m once again remembering all of the happiness you’ve helped me discover, the happiness that had always been hiding within me. I again remember the loving friendship you’ve given me the last few years. I again feel the trust that’s built between us. I feel the strength you’ve helped me gain flow back, replacing the tears that filled my heart a few hours ago. Mildred is quiet now and perhaps I can go back to sleep for a while. I still have work to do and I know I always will. Rough, lonely nights will happen. That’s simply the way life is sometimes, too. The difference is that I now have better tools to work with and better people for me to call friends and family.
4:58 am. I’m sleepy again. And happy that I know a better way. I think of you and that you’ll be waking up soon. I’m hoping that you’re well rested, feeling good, and that your drive in to work will be pleasant. I’m hoping that you know that I’m so grateful for you and all the things you do for me. I’m hoping you’re feeling happy. I’m doing pretty alright…