Anxiety creeps up and makes my skin itch.
It is the aches and pains of a day and the rush of thoughts in the dark that drive away sleep. And so I remember.
With pride I hear the normally quiet Justin speak so well in front of a very crowded room. And I look of his shoulder. I hear his usually quiet mother speak with first a tremble, but then a strength that belies her size. Never underestimate Marquita.
So much that is in my head is sort of a jumble. And I am uncertain that I have any of the details sorted out. I am uncertain of people’s names or faces or that I am attributing things correctly.
So thinking back three years ago, if you were there- accept my thanks. But do not expect me to know what was happening around me during those days.
I just don’t know. Of food and music and tables.
Of those moments. Of days. Of weeks and months… growing blurry where the colors are all bleeding together. Like fishing out a drawing from that box under the melted crayons. And so I write it down. Here. Where it will make sense. A narrative. A list. An essay. Logical thoughts. Reasonable ideas supported by facts. Memories arranged into anecdotes and parables. Words for the wise.
And what stands out in memory? Moments of fear as strongly as joy. That cord cutting deep into the palm of my hand is as vivid as a first kiss. But the words and pictures are all a jumble. And the smell of bread and the sound of a bottle shattering sit among the stars of a blue night sky over the Eastern Sierra.
I can’t sort it out. Like widely scattered showers on a radar map. Mixing the pictures of yesterday with the words of the story. Like leaves blowing across the highway. Like all the fish in a pond. Those memories elude me. And these others stick to me like fox-tails in my socks. I stammer and stutter because it is the best I can do. Hop from one thing to the next.
I know that inside me is that cord that holds this together… that keeps these memories in a line. That there are happy memories and sad ones and that they are all somehow, in my head, still there. And that all I have to do is to find them and dust them off. Dust off the sound of yesterday and place the bits into moments and days, and weeks and months and years. Numbered and labeled. Color coded in the right boxes. I say. That would keep the anxious thoughts at bay. That would make me strong again, right?
I am left brittle. I am left with less resolve and weakened hope. I am left with a thinner skin and a bitter taste. I am left with the ringing in my ears and the sound of the first frogs of spring. I can feel the tightness in my neck and doubt like a warm blanket. And I search the dark room for something outside of myself.
And the only truth I can find, like a rope in the dark, is that I am sad. I am lost. I am lonely.