Hydroplaning. Enough water to lose friction, but not enough to create more. I feel like if I had just a little more ache I could name it. If I had just a little less I wouldn’t have to.
I talk about how I got up this morning. When the alarm clock went off, even. On less than twelve hours of sleep. Amazing. I revel in my ability to take a shower and put on clothes. To leave the house. Keep appointments. Can it count as friction? Please. Something to give me a little traction so I feel less like I’m sliding. Careening. Out of control. Helpless.
My shoes skid across the sidewalk and I swear I’m floating. People are just blurs of hats and scarves. Sunglasses. Warm, fuzzy blobs of color and noise. I am completely disconnected. Nothing you’re saying sounds like words. I smile, but I don’t see you. Not really. Keep my hands in my pockets, unsure if I’d actually feel my touch on anything. Begging to feel like I’m residing in my own body. Like I have any sway over what happens in my head.
The sun goes down and it takes an hour for me to notice. Sitting in the dark, staring at my computer screen. Writing frantically about everything but the thing I need to be. Hard avoidance of those topics that need specific assignment. Which coil around my system and make everything hurt until I decide to pay attention to them. They hide behind my, “I don’t know what’s happening,” and “It comes out of nowhere and I don’t know how to stop it.” Pulling. Tugging. Squeezing in until paralysis sets in and I spend three days on the couch half-watching TV.
Over and over again we tell ourselves the goal is not to stop thinking, but to stop judging. Not to change people, but to change how we react to them. We are not trying to fix, to mend. We are trying to lick our own wounds and get back up again. But first we have to find out where we’re bleeding. Somehow we thought that would be easy. Trace backward to find out how we got here. It feels like we’ve done this before. Each action, each consequence. Both on the giving and receiving ends. They are all so familiar we wonder if we could write them down on a piece of scrap paper, seal it in an envelope, and astound the masses with our prediction a week later. But that doesn’t mean we understand it. Doesn’t mean we can point to the origin.
“Look, there. That’s where it hurts.”
But they tell me we know more than we think we do.
“Write about it. You’ll get there.”
So I’m left wondering if maybe I just don’t want to. When you finally find the splinter you have to remove it, don’t you?