Something poetic reaches the tips of her fingers but she digs them into her nose. Flicking the dirt she has found, the window offers a new insight- a car crash. One car slammed the breaks but the other couldn’t swerve around and impacted it from behind. Both drivers are pointing and yelling, sweaty foreheads, clammy button down shirts, and she by the window wondering what it must be like to own a car, pay the bill monthly for the insurance, to go to work five days a week, and get a paycheck to split like tasteless, bitter, pie slices fed to their respective collectors. Holes in her socks, an old t-shirt a faded grey with bleach stains, and worn out pajama pants. Who cares? She thinks to herself and so another voice echoes, ‘yeah who cares?’.
The plates get cleaned, the pot gets scrubbed, she mops the floor and for a second, she imagines herself calling out to someone, ‘honey everything is clean come look’. Or the same scene but they help her, putting their arms around her, passing her the towel to dry the soapy stove, and playfully roughing up her hair kissing her temples. All this is soothing for a couple of minutes, while brushing her teeth, washing her face, and taking a shower. But as soon as her legs slither into her cocoon of a blanket, it fades and as it does it injures. The picture becomes static and the corners become knives that extend to the deepest part of her and rip her in two. What’s it like to watch the world live? First, you have to die, and second you can never come back to life again. What’s more cruel is that you’re still alive. A voice echoes in her mind, ‘but you’re really dead, right? How else can you see what others miss because they’re too busy living?’
Waking up is easy. The battle is the thoughts that spring out like soldiers from a foxhole, all clamoring to be fed, to be looked at with their rifles, their grenades stuffed in their pockets. When they are not fed, they launch every weapon, every bullet flies towards her but they don’t hurt, instead they remind her how she’s alive but can’t really die a real death. Strange, but in some poets mouths a beautiful nightmare. We die half deaths to mourn a life we can never touch, or something like that, she thinks. The voice echoes again, ‘it is like that, how else can you live?’
What the poets don’t dare write about is how poor one becomes when one cannot provide for themselves, when they are in the fits of sadness, or depression, that’s the proper way to say it, yes? Fits of sadness sounds mild, depression sounds a bit stark, what kind of name can you give whatever takes hold? What kind of name can encompass the shit show that becomes your life when you’re running on no fuel, no energy because it’s being spent on keeping yourself alive while aggressively fighting the desire to die? She accepts help from the government, unless she makes a bit of money from freelancing and then they take that away not aware that sometimes not moving is not an option she wants, it just happens. The kindness of relatives is only extended briefly and then the frustration of helping an empty flesh bag of a person that cannot provide for themselves when the tools are readily there for the taking becomes too much. Then they stop visiting. Who wants to throw money at carrion anyway?
Today is a mild day. No frontline of thoughts coming to assault her today. The window frames a quiet morning, a waft of freshly baked bread comes through. She changes into proper clothes and sits by the laptop, a mug of coffee with milk waiting to be attended to. She flips the laptop open but does not turn it on. She picks up the mug and drinks the hot liquid in sips. She takes a deep breath and stretches her arms, and they softly land on her knees. She begins to cry. Not the type of depressive wails that comes from the frustration of not being able to adapt to every stressor of living a normal life, not the type of cry that comes after fighting for too long, not the type of sobs that come forth after being able to place the words with the feelings, no not those. It’s the silent tears that fall from eyes that have not been able to close all night, it’s the tears that fall after a sunny day, a hot summer day pierced by grey clouds, a small shower to refresh the heated pavement. It is the gentle cry of a warrior in repose, sitting after walking for too long to a destination she’s not sure even exists, and offering her face to the sky, rejoicing in a moment of solitude that is hers, one not afforded in the battle with one’s own demons.
She breathes deeply as they waterfall slowly, catching some in her mouth, tasting the saltiness, a nourishment she has yet to give a name to. She squeezes her knees, she sits back watching her reflection on the laptop screen. She makes a gun with her hand, she pulls the trigger and laughs. The voice echoes, ‘but we are already dead, what would be the point?’ “To end the suffering”, she responds. But the voice says nothing. “We are not suffering” she says, “I am mourning a life I cannot live”.