There were times before, and after, but I barely remember the ones in between. There weren’t enough of them.
There was the time we walked home from the store and saw a striped grey kitten in an abandoned lot. It followed us home and my mother didn’t want to keep it. But I kept it anyways. It ate smelly food and I named it Skittles. I never asked how she felt when I insisted on taking it for a walk to the line of stores we called downtown. That was before, when my mother still had her adventures.
When I wake up in the morning, I can’t see the roof of my apartment. I close my eyes again. Immediately, I remember what I forgot to finish yesterday. I rub my eyes open, they’re sore and puffy, but the roof seems to be obscured still. It’s covered in something, something green in the grey light, but I need my glasses before I can figure out what it is. I bury my face into the warm pillow but it’s too late: I’m already awake and I know there won’t be anymore sleep until after midnight.
There are things down there that you would never expect. There are things down there that you would never believe existed. Long-forgotten treasures, diamonds and gems, covered with a thick layer of grime and something else. Memory. A shipful of greasy shapes and fluid memories lounge comfortably on the bottom of some far away place.
Warning: The following is a vivid description of anxiety and panic attacks. Some readers may be triggered by the depictions. [What’s a writing drill? Read this.]
It starts with a bite. A little prick somewhere in the middle. Your thoughts, like your heartbeat, run a little faster, hot blood running the poison around your system quicker than you can think “ouch”. Then another bite, and another, as thought after thought clouds your vision, blurring out the sharp edges. The worry sets in, and you left the antidote next to your unopened Guide to Meditation at home.
There must be a reason we use words like “heat” and “fire” and “red” when we talk about passion. Desire. There has to be some common thing that we all feel when we get so excited and crazed about something we love. We get worked up, we get lit up, we feel hot. It spreads from our heart, our warm, red, beating heart, to our chest, and to the tips of our toes. It catches from nerve to nerve, quick and painless. Our daydreams are fuel; we stoke the fire by feeding it with dreams and memories that haven’t happened yet. We use the underbrush and dust of the boring everyday and the wild fire consumes it. Continue reading
They don’t tell you just how vast and expansive it all really is. They can’t tell you how open and rocky and beautiful and serene these seas really are. They can’t. You get to figure that out on your own. They can only take you by the water wings and drop you off the edge of the pier, hope you float. Better yet, you start to swim. Continue reading