It’s been a few months since I last saw her. Her choice, of course, said she wanted to straighten out her schedule and that she’d give me a call. She emailed me and, though this isn’t a professional or technical opinion, she seemed oddly bound up. Like an old ball of yarn. Same points of stress, just wedged, almost calcified inside of her.
“Your eyes are puffy.”
I’ve been crying pretty constantly the last week.
“Any particular reason?”
Don’t seem to need one lately. Just any little thing sets me off. The other day, a coworker made a mess of a counter that I had just cleaned and I needed ten minutes in the backroom to get myself sorted. It was all a little too much, you know? I kept asking people to do something different. Like, whatever they thought they were doing to help me… just stop it and try something else. Literally anything other than what they were doing at that particular moment. After I got back on the floor, it took me about half an hour to clean up the mess that guy had made. I still have no idea how he did it. Dark chocolate powder… everywhere… up the walls, on the ceiling, in the grout. Everywhere.
“Sounds like you need to find a new job. Have you looked at other forms of employment?”
Not really, no. I don’t see the point anymore. I’m starting school again, and this time is different. Not an undergrad anymore. I have to be able to pay my bills while I’m interning at some theatre company. To be honest, I’m not even looking forward to it anymore. I can’t work because I’ll be downtown and I can’t do anything before or after the internship because I still don’t have my license yet, so I have to leave the house like three or four hours earlier. You see, I’m already giving myself another panic attack. Did you know I still don’t know if I’m getting my Masters via coursework, MRP, or Thesis? Who the hell doesn’t know that at this point in the game?
It’s so weird. I used to think that this stuff made for the greatest of lives. Wear fancy dresses and get interviewed by Stephen Colbert. Shit, I’d be happy to get something out to a hundred people, six nights a week for the rest of my life. So long as it was art-related, like Shakespeare or something. I don’t know. It just seems, impossible to do that anymore and I haven’t even started. My breath is kind of otherwise preoccupied.
“What do you mean by that?”
I played the trumpet on and off for about thirteen years. It’s a breath-robbing instrument. Same as the flute. It has to be for the embouchure. All that force needs to be directed into the mouthpiece and the only thing that can contain it is the tongue. There are probably less creepy ways to say this. What I’m failing so miserably at saying is that I’m constantly chewing my words as I say them. Things I’d like to say die before they get a foot away from my mouth. If I want to show that I’m upset, I shout a lot, but what I’m saying gets lost in all the noise. And then no one comes to help.
I can’t help but feel like it wouldn’t matter anyway. No one believes me, however, just based off of how I was as a kid.
I used to grab people by their cheeks and make them look me in the eye when I wanted something. Or else, I’d climb up the back of their chairs and sit on their heads.
“What stops you from getting what you want now? You still know how to reach out to people and climb on chairs.”
I don’t know. Developed shame, I guess. I don’t like who I am. I see myself in the mirror and I don’t care for the person staring back at me. I sit on my stairs alone in the dark and I wish to be different when I stand back up. I constantly think about what I’d do differently, the kinds of limits I’d put on myself. I think about what I’d do if I had superhuman abilities and set more reasonable goals from there. And I find myself back where I started: I want a great life. Not the shallow representation of one. I just feel like I sat and watched the clock countdown and I have to leave because now I’m out of time and that this is all I have now.
“So, why are you back here again? I don’t really speak with people who don’t intend on changing.”
Figured it was worth the shot.