With the seat reclined, I sat outside the gate in the car staring at the tall bush that I’d seen grow for the past 9 years. I focused on it with such intent, noting the long prickly leaves and wondering if was a form of cactus, It looked like one, I wondered how the neighbors had gotten it to grow so tall and wondered why they chose that particular cactus. I stared at its neighbors, the untamed kei-apple fence, a deadish rose bush with barely a rose sprouting, and other surrounding plants whose names I couldn’t be bothered to know but they held my interest for those few minutes.
Just for five minutes longer, I needed to anchor.
Just for five minutes longer, I needed the earth to not tremble.
The clouds to not shift.
I needed to have everything stop.
I needed stillness.
I knew, so deep and so well, that If I let it, even for a second, let myself feel the weight that had been dropped on me, then my world as at that moment, would be akin to dropping a glass down 10 stories. Shattering the object to googol pieces, ricocheting the pieces to the ends of the universe.
I couldn’t afford that, not then, I needed the outside to remain calm. To be still. To keep the false calm for everyone around me.
My insides were cracking, but at the same time I was fascinated with the barely-there rose bush and the tall green cactus, and my neighbors’ odd choices for plants. I could feel every part of me crack to the pressure, as the air sucked out of a vacuum, pulling everything to the core, I couldn’t feel my toes, I couldn’t feel my thighs. Half my body felt dead as if crashed in the seat I was occupying. My hands felt like lead, I couldn’t move my fingers. My lungs, collapsing with every painful breath I took, life, fighting to stay in me and my heart, my poor heart, the beats so faint, was it even working? Had it stopped beating? I couldn’t feel it.
It was at that point that I understood why loud, frenetic clubs felt so appealing. Not so long before my pending implosion was I surrounded by wasted noise and hyped at the atmosphere patrons.
In front of me was a couple for the night, the man, all leaned in, hopeful, as the crossed-legged lady next to him, sipped her Black Ice, her facial expression demure, perhaps she liked the guy, perhaps she didn’t, either way, she wasn’t too obvious about it.
On my right was a group of late twenty-somethings, inebriated AF, smoking, and gyrating to whatever sound that came up and toasting to whatever crossed their minds.
I was enthralled just secretly watching them and wondering who among them was in pain, who among them was loved, who among them was would rather not be there. Who among them, like me, was there to ignore the pain I knew was coming. And oh! it was going to hit, hard!
Life around me was moving on and as I sat, listening to a mix of Burna Boy, I wasn’t sure what part of me was hurting most because for a few months till then, I wasn’t sure what part of me I had given away. With clarity though, I knew, the dance was up. I had lost. I was out and it burned right through me, accepting that fact that it was not just taking longer than I wanted it to, it was just starting.
I walked into the house from the car when the earth felt stable long enough to do so. But that was all the energy I had left. Walking out of the car and into my house. I couldn’t spare an ounce more. I couldn’t risk uttering a word or lift my face to meet reality.
All I had in me, was the strength to put one foot forward after the other till I reached the gate….open, close.
Walk to the door….open, close.
Walk to the seat, wishing I could close the open me!
Soon as I sat, it all came back, like a bilious wash, raging and sweeping like a tsunami, all the emotions I had bottled up, all the feelings I felt with the intensity that I had felt them twisting my insides and wrenching all my muscles, sending fucking painful spasms all through me.
I wasn’t sure if the house was on fire and I was burning in it or if my soul had finally ignited, but I just sat there to feel it all.
My fragile mind, with all the thoughts it had carried over the months, with all the ideas and questions and theories and scenarios it had conjured in half a year. It finally gave in and imploded.
I couldn’t make sense of whatever was happening. I was tired, fatigued of trying to figure out what, why, who, where, when, and how. I was done, but I wasn’t sure, not this time, how long it would last, though desperately.
I wanted out, I needed an out, I wanted to stop thinking, stop obsessing, Just Stop! I wanted it all to stop!