Her Very Own Place

31 05 2011

She hesitates. She has been standing there, in that place, for some time now. For about 32 years.

She stands there. Silent. She can see other people, very distant. Extremely far away. Many tiny little figures, each doing different petty things (that she has tried and couldn’t stay with). She tried living “daily life,” but that just wasn’t for her. She kept getting on the bus only to fall back off with a new scar that seemed so insistent on not healing. When she fell off, she would look at her wound, then at the others still on the bus and wonder, “How do they stay on there? How come I can’t stay on there for long enough? Wish I had stronger, bigger muscles. Wish I had a better brain that could tell me the right things to do to stay on. Wish I had better instinct to tell me where to stand at different times, to keep my balance.”

She stands there. Silent. Looking at others that have crossed paths with her. How they are “living”! She looked at different people. Friends, present and past. Acquaintances. They were so far away, yet she could see distinctly what each was doing. To her, they managed to stay light, always moving and “doing.” So tiny. So busy. So light. She, on the other hand, had always been too heavy, always pulled down. She laughed. So many times had she gone very close to one or more of these people, in their territories and thought she would stay there, only to end up in her own very isolated spot, time and again. That same spot that always found her. She hated them. She hated them all, for doing what she couldn’t do and for not being able to save her. She hated them for being able to live and come back from not-small trials. She loathed them. She wished them all the very best. Her place is not where anyone else can be. Her place is . . . . her place, alone. It is her curse. Hers alone. She realized. She is here. They are there. That is it. Plain. Simple.

She stands there. Silent. Looking both ways.

Behind her it’s dark, but well-paved. She knows that way well. Her own footsteps have paved and carved that road; it is a custom fit. The ground there is soft and flat. Were she to go there, she would know exactly where to set foot for every step. Her previous footsteps have marked the way for her. Here she is equipped, with directions, with answers, with a detailed road map.

The other way has a bit more light. It’s not familiar. The ground here is pebbly and stony. Hard on her feet. She keeps tripping and falling so often. It looks nice from afar, briefly. The light hurts her eyes, and her heart. It bothers her and throws her off. She can’t see clearly in the light. If only it weren’t for those sporadic flashes of light that so blind yet mesmerize her. She sees the light, goes forward in leaps, then the light goes off, as it must. Then she stops, shrinking in place, not calm, not quiet, not waiting for the light to come on again, not even knowing if it will. It is dark. She is not in familiar territory. Should she turn around and head back, taking the road she came through? But . . . maybe the light will come on again. But, maybe if she waits a bit, and keeps walking, she will be far away enough from that other place, far away enough to never arrive there again?

She stands there. Silent. Bewilderment in her eyes. A strange depth in her gaze. A cold glassy look in her eyes.

“Go back! Go back! You don’t know this! You can’t handle this! This is not your way. (Not that you have anything that is yours. I mean how can you have a yours if there’s no you?) But, just go back. This is not safe. You will fall, very hard. You must do anything to avoid falling. You’re not taking medication; you have NO SUPPORT. You are not safe! Go back! Go back!”

She starts taking frantic steps backwards. She knows where she is going, very well. She is not scared.

“Wait. Just stand here. Just wait. The light will come on again, insha’Allah. You don’t have to run. You don’t have to even walk. Just wait. Here. For a while. Then, later on, you can start taking small, very small steps again, ahead.” A hint of hope.

She stops in place.

“Go back! This is a mistake! This is WRONG! This is dangerous! This will take you to that hole, you know that hole? The one deeper than your present existence, blacker?”

(Yes, that hole. It is becoming more tempting day after day. I used to be scared of that hole; now, all I want to is to go there, to cut that last string of consciousness. Enough of being stuck. This world is nothing to me. The hole.)

“If you go back, you’re going to the hole, for sure. You’re going to be okay. Just wait. Wait. Wait. Repeat after me, “Wait here.” You will be okay.” A faint pat on the back.

(STOP! I WILL NOT BE OKAY. I WILL NEVER BE OKAY. I DON’T KNOW OKAY. I AM TIRED OF BEING STUCK!! I HAVE TO GET OUT OF HERE. I CAN’T WAIT FOR OKAYNESS ANYMORE! OKAY WILL NOT COME!)

“Too hard. Not safe. The hurt. Close the doors. It was a big mistake to open the doors. You were so close to complete and irreversible disconnectedness. What happened to you? Why on earth did you open the doors like that?”

(Yes, I was in such a good, safe place.)

“Go back! Go back to the way you know!”

“Wait! Wait here! Just be a little patient. Find your strength. Inside. You are strong. You are defiant.”

(No, I am tired.)

“Go!”

“Wait!”

(Slow down! I can’t keep up! My head is too heavy. I can’t follow. I can’t see. I don’t understand.)

She stands in place, looking ahead, then turning around, looking back. She wraps her hands around her head, over her eyes. The agonizing pressure on her temples is rising. She keeps turning, back and forth. She scans her surroundings for someone to come. To save her. No one. No one will come.

(I don’t know how to be like this, how to not have the answers. How to not know in advance what I will do. How to not have a plan.)

Her head: an explosion. Fury. Banging. Storming.

Her eyes: dried out. There was no more crying left. It was pointless crying, crying that doesn’t even make her feel better.

Her body: aching. Weakened. A needless burden.

Her chest: torn apart. Wondering: what numbs this?

She lets herself sink to the floor, in place. In that middle place.

She is not afraid. The fear has cleared, vanished.

She takes out the little box.

She can no longer hear the “Go back!” and “Wait here.”

She sits there. Silent.

“Forgive me.”

She opens the box.

She smiles.

She swallows.

She lies on her back, looking at the peaceful clouds, with a big smile.

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