Breakable Girls and Boys

I think a lot these days.

People tell me things, and I listen, and then I take them with me, their sentences, their stories, and grow them into thoughts that need constant rethinking, thoughts that end up keeping me awake at night.

I feel more alert than ever.

At times I catch my reflection in a computer screen or a random shop window, and I’m surprised that my eyes aren’t three times wider than usual, that my pores aren’t visibly open into little black holes, that I’ve still got membranes keeping the outside world at bay. Because lately I’ve been feeling like I’m breathing everything in, with all my senses, painfully gulping every sound and every idea and every speck of light, until I’ll have swallowed the entire world and everybody in it, and then what.

I doubt this makes much sense.

The other day, a friend told me she didn’t have anything left to live for.

We’d been chatting on Skype for a while, about our plans for Christmas and my recent adventurous furniture shopping sessions, when these sentences suddenly started filling the screen, these frightening sentences threatening to drip onto my desk and my keyboard, stain the carpet and sip through into the guts of the earth. So I had no choice but to swallow them up. And here she is now, carrying her unhappiness back and forth inside me. She’s lost, she whispers constantly in my ear. She can’t think of anything, not one thing that would make her happy, she says. She gets home after work sometimes and just sits there. Just sits there, you know? No book, no TV, not a light on, until it’s time to go to bed. She knows something is wrong and then sometimes, she doesn’t. Because who knows, perhaps this is it. Her life from now on. A new phase. Something that can’t be helped.

I think a lot these days.

It’s not easy.

Yesterday morning I jumped out of bed troubled by the unexpected peace and quiet. 8:45 and I started yelling at V to get up already, I’d be in such big trouble, and just as my contract is up for extension, why was he looking at me like that, let’s go!

It’s Saturday, he said, as I kept slamming drawers and trying to squeeze into a pair of jeans. I don’t care it’s Saturday, we need to get a move on!

Hey, it’s Saturday, he said again, and smiled. I sank to the floor and almost cried, jeans tangled around my ankles. It’s too much, I said, and he must have thought I was talking about work. But I meant all this thinking. It’s getting to me.

And it scares me how we’re nothing but other people’s memories in the making. Such responsibility, isn’t it, to grow into someone’s good memory. Such hard work it takes.

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