I noticed a fly away, so I wet my fingertips with a tear and slicked it down, wondering briefly if the salt from the tear would damage my hair the way ocean water does.
I stared in the mirror at my red-brimmed eyes. How many tears had I cried the past year? Too many to count. And how many times had I glanced down at my wrists and imagined streams of red drizzling down my pale skin?
It was probably a bad thing that I believed in heaven. It meant I wasn’t afraid to die, and dying was more alluring than living. Living was a struggle.
I knew God had a purpose for me. I trusted Him. Of course I did; that’s why I was still here.
But dying would have been easier.
I’d had a good life. I had no regrets. No one would stand at my casket and say “She was so young” or “She didn’t have enough time.”
I had plenty.
My life was better than most and better than I’d ever imagined. But I felt like my life had already peaked and was now slowly dissipating. The days were appearing more and more like a smog — as if the present was in a future space that faded into the distance. The end was in view, and what lay beyond was welcoming.
What lay beyond was peace.
I knew to let God bring me to that end in His own time, but I reminded Him regularly that I was ready whenever He was. This life meant nothing to me. I was just going through the motions — putting on a pretty face for those around me who needed to see it for their own peace of mind.
A smile’s not always a smile. If one were to look closely enough they could see the difference between a smile and a grimace. But no one ever looked that hard. Thankfully. I wouldn’t want to burden them with my heart’s issues, or make them feel obligated to help me through something for which there is no help.
The pills help . . . for a while, but the side effects keep me stalling for a split second as I hold them in my shaking hand each morning, wondering again if I really want to take them. Once they take hold I am able to wade through my hangers of dark clothing to find a bright blue sweater my sister bought me for Christmas. I slip it over my head and wonder if it’s distracting enough that a stranger will compliment it instead of asking me how am I doing today.
I lather concealer over the dark circles under my eyes — another mask, this one only effective until another bout of tears strips it away. I tuck the concealer in my purse next to the waterproof mascara, where they’ll not stay long.
There is no reason. There doesn’t have to be. I could compile you a list of a thousand reasons; but when I tell you it’s because the lid from my jar of instant coffee fell in the sink, you wouldn’t believe me. When I tell you I wanted to crawl back in bed and sleep the world away at the thought of taking a shower, you wouldn’t believe me. You need a concrete answer — one that fits into your understanding — but there is none.
I consider again calling in sick to work, then think of the bills that need paid. I don’t care about either — my job nor the bills. I make the decision on a hope that being around people will help as they promised. For three years it hasn’t. But I’m no quitter.
I kiss my beloved goodbye as I walk out the door. I love this person, who tells me my lips are warm on his, reminding me there must be some part of me still living. The empty cold stays contained. Of all the blessings I’ve been given, it’s the one I appreciate most.
I step into the winter white. The crisp air merges with my core and finally my entire body is the same temperature, and I wonder if that’s what death is like — a sensation of cold that starts internally, then radiates outward until the entire body is stiff and cold.
This is me. This is always me. There is no reason. There doesn’t have to be. It just is. I live with it. Did you hear me? I live with it.