Tag Archives: prose

Absence

I had a feeling today. I had this aching feeling all day that just kept getting larger as the day went on. This feeling about the holidays coming up. It’s been on and off lately but, today it felt a little bit stronger. But at first, nothing out of the ordinary. Around this time for the past 4 years my mom would always start calling more. She always felt more upset around the holidays because she didn’t have any of us around. That’s when the phone calls started. And the texting. And the voicemails. They always got worse around the holidays. My grandma used to say that she couldn’t live with herself around that time.

So today I just kept having this on and off feeling about how I hadn’t checked my old email account, the one that she knows. And I didn’t tell anyone about this feeling because it’s so normal or usually just in passing that I just don’t think about it. Sometimes it just comes and goes. Just because it was relatively stronger today, didn’t mean I had to even talk about it really. I just held back and knew that it would go away. But for some reason, it made me check my old email account, just in case I was right, and sure enough, she did write me back. It’s from the middle of October. I wish I hadn’t opened that email account. I wish I just left it and continued thinking that she hadn’t replied. It wasn’t a bad email, but it wasn’t a good one either. It was honest.

I’m upset because I’ve had this aching feeling that wouldn’t go away and it was almost like my heart knew. It was almost like while reading that letter, I understood her. And felt her pain, again. The one that accompanied her calls. Even if it’s mostly a pain associated with guilt for what she’s done. Even if it’s a pain that I don’t have to feel bad for or feel guilty for. Pain is pain. It doesn’t matter. I know it’s there. And maybe it’s because I’m her daughter still. Maybe because she gave birth to me. Maybe that’s why I felt this feeling today and knew that she had written me. Maybe I will always feel her pain. Maybe I’ll always feel a strangely painful connection despite our disconnection. I don’t know. But the past few days or so I’ve been thinking about her. I’ve forgotten and put her out of my head for a while, especially since I let go and wrote to her. It’s helped me a lot and I know it has made a huge impact on how I’m living. But lately, because of Christmas coming up, I’ve been thinking about her and Dad more. The holidays are always harder. Katherine today said it could be a huge part of why I am especially anxious. I can’t really tell.

This year is the first time I’m actually excited about the holidays though. I even have on and off “Christmas spirit.” But there are still moments where I feel an anxiety about Christmas. For 19 years I had Christmas with my parents, even if three of those years were hard because of my mom. I think the absence is still strong and noticeable. I think it’s getting smaller and it’s getting filled in. But I think it’s still noticeable and still hard. I think it makes me sick sometimes. I think it makes me feel really uneasy and anxious when I think about it and when I don’t think about it. Even this year at Thanksgiving I sat there and still saw two empty seats even though all the seats were taken. I still hear silence in the kitchen while Nan cooks. I still see shoes missing in the hallway. I see ghosts of them and even ghosts of me. And I hate that. I notice their absence more than I noticed their presence. I know I can’t feel badly about that, but I think I do.

I think this weighs down on me.

Elasticity

Wrote this at some point last night. Just some thoughts on anxiety.
— 

“. . . It’s a terrible sight to see, an anxious person at their worse. Or maybe I don’t look terrible at all. But if I looked like what I felt inside, if I was a physical embodiment of my anxiety and what it feels like, I would look awful. I would look like a tightly formed ball of elastics, all tugging and pulling on each other. When I think of anxiety, that’s how I imagine it sits inside of me. This moving ball of strings and elastics all knotted and twisted, unable to come undone. Moving, vibrating inside of me and tugging on my organs. Every once in a while when I’m anxious I get a flash of this image. It almost soothes me because it seems a little repairable. I can untie things. Knots come undone. . .

Laying in that bed, I feel the brush of animal fur underneath my fingers and my body feels warm. Slipping into a state of half awake and half dreaming, I feel warmth next to me, radiating me from head to toe. There isn’t a thought crossing my mind. Not a single thought. Almost like meditating, maybe. But not quite. Because I’m still partly aware, maybe even thinking, but the thoughts are so silent, they aren’t as heavy. . .”

Things I Want To Tell The World About My (Non-) Sleeping Habits

Went to bed around 7 this morning. Woke up around noon. “Good morning.” We hate sleeping. It means less time. So we sleep less. If we had weeks at a time maybe we would enjoy falling asleep more. Still enjoy falling asleep together. I just seem to prefer being awake more these days. Strange. It’s strange because I remember loving sleep. Loving the feeling of not being awake. Not being quite conscious. I remember loving nothing more than a nap. Nothing more than hours at a time of just sleeping. Now I have days where I just sleep to catch-up on the sleep I’ve missed so that I don’t become hospitalized and deemed insane. I love waking up. I love waking up next to him.

The Apple Of My Eye

A .. B .. C ..

I twist the stem between my fingers, careful not to break it at the wrong letter.

D .. E .. F .. FUCK.

Fuck, fuck it’s getting looser. My mind is in chaos. I’m getting frantic. Should I speed up the process? Suddenly, a voice. A face that comes to mind. A vibration in my back pocket.

I stop and I start to smile as I walk across the intersection. It doesn’t work that way. My heart. It feels free, it flutters and I watch and hear its beat. I watch it. A shade of deep red stares at me, glowing from the autumn sun. I pause.

I speed up the process anyways, for old times’ sake.

… L-M-N-O-

The strange myth captured my heart. But now, a realization, as I watch it red and beating. I don’t need the letters. I don’t need the twisting stem. The reliance. The broken stem aligning with the first name of who we are to be with.  The future determined by a stem nestled in a red, delectable fruit. How silly, I thought. I smile. Another memory. Another moment. Another reminder of why I shouldn’t worry. Another reminder of where I am.

Be here. Be right here. 

P.

 

 

Stent

I’m pulled outside of the room. Cheeks suddenly black. I’m pulled outside of the room because I can’t watch it anymore. She looks at me.

“Why aren’t they saying anything?” I want to scream. I feel it start. I want to tell her I hate it so much. I want to talk about my disbelief. I don’t. I don’t.

“We don’t know. They haven’t told us.” She looks away. She looks back at the door.

White brick walls. Bulletin boards. Pamphlets. All these words but no one’s saying anything. Why?

“Why hasn’t anyone spoken to me?”

Fluorescent lights. Damp cold tiles. Hand sanitizer. Buzzing of radiators. Television’s white noise.

“I don’t know,” she says looking at the door. She says looking everywhere but at me. She can’t bear to look at me like this. She looks back at the door. She goes back to the room.

A room.

A bed. A television. White noise. A corded-telephone. Flowers. Cards. Books. A bear.

They say I can go back in. I wipe black away before I go in through the door. I don’t want him to see me this way. I go to the side of the bed. Everyone is casual again. We’re always casual and calm at our best. We’re never anything better. We’re talking. Someone smirks. I’m numb. We’re good at pretending.

We stretch stories and sentences. We expand by using words. Words are like the stent in his throat. Everything is a stretch. Everything is irreparable. The stent is temporary, and so is our time.

A Sign Of Life

Evidence of something. Not sure what this something is. You look invested in things around you but I get the feeling you weren’t. I get the feeling that your mind constantly wandered. I think sometimes we are the same. I think most times we are different. I know your heart went through a lot. I know your anxiety consumed you for most of your life. I look at old photographs, like this one, and I am overwhelmed to know the story and the truth and the words associated with the feelings you felt. I wonder who you were.

Your hair falls back in front of your face and you move it behind your ears. You frown a bit, as you think of something. You scratch your head and make eye contact briefly and then look away. You’re scared. Not sure of what. But you hide yourself anyways, never to be found.

Both Of Them

“Guess you did lose both of them.”

any moment of silence and these words cloud my mind

“Guess you did lose both of them.”

any moment of weakness

“Guess you did lose both of them.”

moment of realization

“Guess you did lose both of them.”

that you read my words

“Guess you did lose both of them.”

and you took them

“Guess you did lose both of them.”

turned them

“Guess you did lose both of them.”

into nothing

“Guess you did lose both of them.”

but a tactic

“Guess you did lose both of them.”

every insecurity, vulnerable piece of me

“Guess you did lose both of them.”

I don’t even care

“Guess you did lose both of them.”

I really don’t

“Guess you did lose both of them.”

or

“Guess you did lose both of them.”

or

“Guess you did lose both of them.”

or I guess I do

“Guess you did lose both of them.”

because why can’t I just get

“Guess you did lose both of them.”

your voice

“Guess you did lose both of them.”

out of

“Guess you did lose both of them.”

my

“Guess you did lose both of them.”
“Guess you did lose both of them.”
“Guess you did lose both of them.”
“Guess you did lose both of them.”
“Guess you did lose both of them.”
“Guess you did lose both of them.”
“Guess you did lose both of them.”
“Guess you did lose both of them.”
“Guess you did lose both of them.”
“Guess you did lose both of them.”
“Guess you did lose both of them.”
“Guess you did lose both of them.”

I’ve already been told that it doesn’t matter.

“Guess you did lose both of them.”

That none of it matters. You don’t matter. She doesn’t matter. I don’t even matter to either of you. None of it, not a piece of it, not a part of it, matters. I’ve been told about it all. After. After, head between legs, eyes shut. I’ve been told, I’ve been told. After pacing, pacing. Taunting the halls with cries. Shutting my eyes so that the sickness subsides. And there, a dream. My mind conjures up some sort of image. A series of old images. A collection of sorts.

An empty bottle (or two). Between a toilet and a wall. Your head is smashed up against the ground so that we can’t tell the difference. Probably wouldn’t know your name.

“Guess you did lose both of them.”

Your head sunk in a toilet.

“Guess you did lose both of them.”

I fished you out.

“Guess you did lose both of them.”

Your body interwoven with the weeds in the front yard.

“Guess you did lose both of them.”

I dug you out of your grave.

“Guess you did lose both of them.”

Can’t count the many times you’ve been rescued.

“Guess you did lose both of them.”

And the many times I’ve been stranded.

“Guess you did lose both of them.”

A Letter To August

As my 23rd summer comes to a close, I have realized you have been both a beautiful and painful month. I have encountered things I haven’t had to before, but I was lucky enough to end you this year on a good note.

August, you have thrown me, tossed me. Summer drinks have made me do things I wouldn’t, and accompanied me during the formation of many new friendships and experiences. Your warmth gave me beautiful days in a park, walks made bearable from work, and reasons to find patios. You have been a month of celebration and grief. Summer romance peaked and declined and finally, I was pulled out of the feeling of constant longing. Speechless, I took the arms of someone I hold dear to my heart. And they held me. They hold me. It still drives me speechless.

Near the end, I found clarity, comfort, and happiness. I have looked at you from a distance; looked at the larger picture in front of me. I have put away the specifics. I have put away the tiny (and maybe even grand) tribulations. In sacrificing those, I have been able to see what good has come from you, despite long days of sinking into my bed and counting cracks in the ceiling.

Thank you for being another surreal experience, another adventure, and another momentous time in my life.

Love,

J

An Excerpt From A Journal Entry: July 6th, 2012

… Last night when I was trying to fall asleep, I thought a lot about them and our old houses. I thought about garage sales. Snowy winters. Sick days from school. Pets. CNN. All sorts of different memories or images that I associate with that part of my life- my parents. I feel my life has been divided into parts. I’m not sure which part I’m in right now, but I imagine years from now I’ll have some associations and memories of it that will give it a title.
My life played before my mind like projection slides. For an hour it just kept flipping from memory to memory, person to person, house to house.

Driven For A Fix

“I went out for a lot of years looking for her in bars. I would go in and look around. And then I think it was some guy outside that asked me, “Lady, who are you looking for? How old are you?” I told him I was looking for my daughter. He said I should not be out there looking for her. He was meaning, that any guy in those bars could hurt me and I’m just an old lady. It was dumb of me to go out there but I didn’t look at it that way. All I could think of was finding my daughter. I didn’t think that I shouldn’t be out there until he brought it to my attention. He said to me, you should not be out here looking for her. You should not go out looking for her. And I never did it again. It was at that minute and time that it just hit me; something in my brain. And I just went home and I didn’t go looking anymore. I just made up my mind that I was going to just look after her kids and she had to go her own way.

And so Nancy asked me, “Did your daughter give her children to you?” “No, I took them.” “Do you call her everyday?” And I said, “No, I’ve been too busy raising her children.”

I just sometimes wondered, what caused this? Your mother didn’t have a miserable home life. She had you kids. She had your dad. She still spoke about your Dad like she loved him to death. But I think it was her anxiety.”

I thought about that, and said to her, “You know the saying ‘that’s something that would drive me to drink’? I think that’s what happened. She just self-medicated her anxiety because it drove her to self-medicate; it drove her to drink. “

My grandma looked at me and said, “I had such bad anxiety after my other daughter died. Doing the dishes caused anxiety because I couldn’t make up my mind where to put the dishes in the racks. The arrangement caused anxiety. Planting flowers caused anxiety. Going outside caused anxiety. I had trouble making decisions. It’s a good job I don’t drink because I think I would just stay drunk. And that’s what your mother has done. I used to wonder, is it the anxiety that comes first or the drinking?”