I will continue attempting to write mid-way. I am in the thick of a sludgy walk with sorrow but still have the hope of reaching wide Joy waters too. I will be posting short reflections as I go, as though I have passed through this marsh. As though today was yesterday.
I never worried about monsters as a kid. I was much too practical, much too invincible for that. Night was just night and shadows were just shadows; the sunrise, even the night light, was not my salvation—I wasn’t scared. It wasn’t until adulthood that my security, my fear of the unknown and the dark corners, grew to keep pace with a normal 4-year-old’s development. Though I did not encounter any as a child, I feel certain that monsters are a far worse experience as an adult, never knowing when they will jump out, or who they are hiding behind. Having no super-adult there to comfort you, to say they are not real, because, in fact, there are no super-adults and they can be real. Having no fancy adult-tricks to make the monsters go away, to prove them untrue, to disappear the bad. I found myself thinking completely impractical, juvenile thoughts, like, I wish I could trade in these scary monster hunt nights for the ones I neglected in my childhood. As if I were due. For monsters.
During this time I found my physical health insulting and insincere. I didn’t understand why I could walk down the street without my guts spilling out on the sidewalk and no thick blood trail. I wished to become very sick, to vomit and vomit and vomit until this time was emptied and gone, until the poison I had been fed was sewage, and all I had to do was drink Sprite for a few days and enjoy the way my jeans fit. It didn’t make sense that my chest was still wrapped in unscarred skin when it seemed a big, black cavern—a gaping hole of mystery and sorrow, the size of a warm baby who knew the beat of my heart. I did not appreciate that all the organs and bones were in the right place when there was a starving emptiness nagging in the center of my body. My weight was terribly stable. My hands kept their patterns of dishes, laundry, e-mails, and driving. My muscles kept form though at times I would wake in the middle of the night believing I had lost my body, feeling nothing but a great blob of grey, powerless matter. The grace of good health seemed ill-placed to my ill-state.
I was partly dismayed at my body because it never once let me off the hook of the fight for True or sent me into sweet hallucinations or blissful unconsciousness. But more than that, it added to the internal conflict that had taken up residence in my mind. Though all the parts of my body worked like normal, I had given a part of my hip to a child that no longer rested upon it and a swaying bounce of my legs to a child that I could no longer soothe. I had trained my ear to stirrings and groggy babble that never came. I had treated my nose to the smell of a little one who gave affection and effected us dearly, and there was no where to nestle it now. How would my systems restore, how would these processes recover, after 9 months of being programmed around a person that was now an absence. When would I stop thinking of taking her monitor to the backyard with us. When would I stop looking for her in public and seeing all our meetings in public places replay at every drive-by. At what point would the parts of my body I had willingly committed to her every moment give up their highly-functioning, suddenly-expired ways.
I didn’t know. I couldn’t find the light switch. I had no closet door to open. Just me, enduring the monster of Loss, who kept company with many others, waiting for the sunrise, praying for a night light.