cafe mama

finding magic every day

this sadness . december 10 . 2010

sunset, backyard, december mid
Here is where it is: on the road (yes, the one between hither and yon), and I have too much time to think, often about the great undone of the day, week, year. Or at home, in the space between kitchen and living room, where I am repeating the supplicant's walk, what, what do you want, what, what will you show me, what, what has happened?, and I do not have time to think at all.

It is here, it is flitting about in the chill gorgeous fog-draped afternoon, it is all around me. It is a sadness that strikes me, nowhere-from, grabs me by the folds of my shirt and shoves me up against the wall. THIS. NOW. A phone call from a coach, describing the unhappiness with Everett's attitude, the need for apology; a spill across the floor; a remembrance of Legos broken. Things fall apart; the ceremony of innocence long-since drowned; my center loses its hold.

Wanting a spiral into tears, a falling onto the floor in a heap, a long slow bath or a drippy, sniffling recounting of my woes, often all I'm allotted is a silent shout into the inner-ness. The center of my mass, my undercurrent, my warp drive: it's a swirling mass of "why?" and "it's not fair!" and "could you give me a break?" All I wish for, in some of these moments, is a room in which to lock myself, a chair in which to curl, a cotton handkerchief, spotted and damp, warm slippers, no one waiting, no one asking, no one hungry or sockless or late.

Unable to diagnose my sadness as loneliness, exhaustion, the holiday ordinaries, a shortage of Vitamin D, I can only sit, or stand, or ride, trying to keep my eyes open, trying to keep the tears out of my voice, trying to try again. Slice leeks, peel potatoes, gather thyme; strip bed, carry laundry, start load; put on socks, put on shoes, chase, catch, chase and catch again, talk calmly, hold firmly until he yields, put on coat. Sit and type until someone grabs my arm, swipes papers to floor, holds my cheeks in his hand for direct, two-eyed attention. Stop, start again, stop, plan the shower a little later, still later, maybe tomorrow. Choose sleep over book. Choose book over TV. Choose TV over idle clicking through Facebook, through other people's lives, other problems better or worse than mine. Ask, "what can I do?" Think, "why can't I be better?" Wonder, "will this cycle ever end?" Stomp, lose my cool, forget things, leave them out in the rain. Soggy, pocked with mud and pestled leaves, they become compost, or worse.

Answering my questions with more questions, more pointless diagnoses -- none of the cures are easy, after all -- I avoid, make toast, say "yes" to the opening of the Halloween candy box. I fail to answer the phone; fail to listen to the messages; fail to call back. I want to cancel everything, skip school every day, lie on the couch and watch all of the episodes of every TV show I discover, at once, I love fiercely. In my bed (the boys' bed) at 1:47 or 2:23 a.m., I lie staring at the insides of my eyes, brain burning with sorrow, loss, wasted lifeforce.

When it lifts it is a quiet inconsequential sweeping away, big clouds on a slow wind, or a burst of brightness that lasts maybe a minute or a day: a painted sunset, a clean counter, a complete and perfect sentence, a child's stuffed dog who tells me he loves me. All is white and persimmon and grey and steel-blue and there is pink at the edges of everything. I catch myself from a sob, because what? How would I do this crying? No, no time, I wipe tears with the back of my mind's hand, stop sniffles in their tracks, grind my palms in my eyelids for a minute and yank back from the precipice. I am all they have, these boys, with no time this here-and-now for this sadness.

paying the bills

read my previous post . veteran's day heroes . november 11 . 2010