In march of 2015 I moved what few precious possessions I had decided to keep into this tiny studio apt that I would call home for the next 2 years. I did not have a bed. I threw out my dishes, clothing and books and gave away nearly all my furniture.
My first night in my little apartment was spent full of despair and confusion in my heart and mind. I was more than broken. At the time I saw myself as hideous and unfixable. Undesirable in every way. Though I sat troubled in this tiny room with my kitty wondering what possible terrible thing lay waiting for me next, I still had clarity enough to notice the quiet calmness around me. For the first time in several months I felt safe and the ton I had been carrying on my shoulders with chains dragging by my ankles were suddenly gone. I knew it was over and I felt guilty for enjoying that moment because I truly did not want any of it to be real.
I wanted to still be with the man I loved, even though his sickness was literally killing me. I did not want to feel peace without him. I wanted him and I wanted contentment but it was evident that those things could not coexist. Life with him was chaos. Unrelenting emotions at the blink of an eye. Unsuspecting pain and sadness that became a habit. Much like everything else of him, an addiction.
I struggled. I spent hours on that tiny bathroom floor sobbing. Sometimes putting slices in my thigh. Early into this journey it was late on a spring night and it was pouring rain and I just couldn’t be inside anymore. I took off down the street running. Soaking wet and panting. I walked up to the library. Everything was dark and dripping. There was a brick wall with a good ledge for sitting. I climbed up into the bushes and sat behind them. The trees above kept most of the rain off me, still I could not tell the difference between my tears and the earth’s weeping.
I lay there in the dirt for a long time. I do not know how long but my fingers became numb like the rest of me. I should have felt pain but I did not. I did not feel anything.
Around that same time. I had another evening. He called and got my mind all twisted again and I called my mom upset. I felt like I had no one anymore and she was far away and defending the others. I hung up and shut my phone off and climbed up the street and sat on the ledge looking down the cliffside. I could jump I thought. I could hope for a broken neck. Unlikely I considered and I sat looking into the dark tree tops waiting for this to end.
I spent my days working at my neighbor hospital. Watching mostly dead people roam by. It helped take my mind off my own suffering but watching people slowly die takes a lot out of one, one that barely had enough to give.
I never told my best friend that his anger at me pushed me over the edge. I called my boss in the morning and said “I’m not coming into work today. I haven’t slept because I spent the night pondering how best to kill myself.” It goes without saying really that this did not end well. I panicked everyone and ended up naked on a ER bed with all my personal belongings taken away from me. I laid dead and numb for hours in that bed. I probably should have been admitted but I hated not having clothes and my phone so I played it off and instead got an uppage in my dose of medication and a leave of absence from work.
I never made it back.
My grandfather died a couple months later. I sat on that floor again. I wept until I passed out. I cried for hours, everyday for months. Sometimes the pain of missing him skips a beat of my heart and I find myself literally gasping and grasping at my chest. How does one recover from death? I do not think we ever do. One’s existence changes completely. You wake up a different person.
When you spend hours and days on days alone you learn things about yourself you previously thought incapable of. You forget the sound of your own voice. You have to talk out loud to remind yourself that you still exist. I would punch my skin to insure I was still alive. And indeed, this was all unfortunately not a dream.
Wake up. Go back to sleep. Forget. Remember and do it all over again. Write three papers, two at a time. Remember this is your purpose now. Just survive.
Today I packed up that tiny apartment, that hole I ran to as the world crashed all around me. I remember those days like a story, a novel of some other lifetime. Written and dedicated to me. I will not forget those days anytime soon but I look back as a proud mother. I nurtured myself along the way. I had to because no one else could or would.
Tonight you called me. I noticed a message four hours after. I do not listen. I do not read your words and I know you are waiting. Today I left the place I ran to because of you. Because of you I had to hide and I was begging for your calls.
Today I run only for myself. I despise what you did but I look back with a smile. Today you are begging for my calls. You long for what I used to crave. I go to bed at peace.