Before It Slits Your Throat


 For two months, I wouldn't sit. I jittered like a wind-up toy, filling my nights with faces and lights, ablaze like a fire in the driest wood. I thought I was just having fun.

One night, I tried to stay in. Calendar cleared, doors locked tight, the still and the silence engulfed me. I put on my coat and went out. "I'm not afraid to be alone," I thought, "I just don't prefer it."

I got sick, then, an autumn cold. I spent four days alone, sick in a bed too big for only me. I was alone with my ghosts and they wrecked me. They'd waited so quietly.

image credit: ronnienoir

Fall has turned to winter in this town between two lakes. The color has washed from the sky. The last feathers of fall clung to the branches in fistfuls; they shuddered in the wind, and fell. It's colder now.

My favorite time is twilight: lamp-lit windows with the shades still drawn. Woodsmoke and wind chimes. My boots make echoes on the silent street, hands in my pockets, humming. I watch families through the windows: setting silver, fork on the left. We all want the same thing, I think.

image credit:  7twenty7

image credit: 7twenty7

When he left, I was so angry. Of all the reasons I had to be mad, the one that stuck was so silly: I saw your baby pictures. Boring ones, funny ones, ones that made me want to have a family of our own. It's like naming a chicken before you slit its throat; it boards in a room in your heart.

It'll be a year next month. That's a long time for so tight a grip. It feels more like a feat than a failure. Rebound and ricochet, my heart's like a yo-yo, always coming back. I'd rather be wrong, to be honest.

I've been going, and growing, lit like a lamp on the longest path. I made a wrong turn, somewhere. I opened my heart so wide that I closed it back again. Seeking turned to taking and courage turned to pride; there was something good there, but I passed it. I don't listen anymore, is the thing. I always think I know what you're about to say.

image credit:  polli

image credit: polli

But sometimes on these cloudless days, the air crisp as a new dollar bill, sky flat and gray as a windless sea, hands in my pockets, humming, I catch myself laughing out loud. There's joy in there, somewhere. It's a secret I keep from myself.