*** Please note formatting on this blog is different than the book.
Today’s reality… Doing something new
January 3, 2018
“Good morning, Danica. How are you today?” asks Dr. Green as he walks into his office, late as usual. His glasses sit askew atop his head, his salt and pepper hair sticking out in all directions. This is the man who has been counseling me to get on with my life. The man who scarcely arrives at our appointments on time. But I like him. He’s easy to talk with: jovial, caring, and not nearly as pushy as other therapists I’ve seen through the years.
He seats himself in the chair across from me and I close my eyes, breathing in deeply. “I opened my email this weekend.”
“Oh? Is that unusual for you?” he asks.
“My old email. The account from… before.”
Dr. Green remains quiet, waiting for more. When it becomes clear I’m not offering up an explanation he does as he always does - he pokes at the hornets’ nest. “What prompted you to do that?”
Tears jab the back of my eyelids, even as a small smile dances upon my lips. “I had a birthday Sunday,” I remind him, knowing full well he’s aware my birthday was New Year's Eve. “I turned twenty-one, and do you know what I did?”
He raises a brow in question, perching his glasses on the tip of his nose, and going to work jotting notes on the pad laying in his lap.
“Nothing. I did nothing. I sat in a dark room and watched the teenagers across the street set off fireworks.” I sound so lame, I think to myself, shaking my head. “It’s pathetic honestly. I know it and you know it and that’s why I opened the email. I guess I wanted to know if anyone was thinking of me.”
“You guess?” he asks, and I shrug indifferently. “And, what did you find?”
What did I find? I found years of accumulated junk mail and well wishes from people I’ve long left behind. I didn’t stop to look at the messages, not all of them anyway. Instead, I clicked the senders into alphabetical order and searched for relevant names. More specifically, I searched for one name.
He’d sent three messages and as I’d read the words on the glowing screen before me, while fireworks popped outside my window, the truth of my life crashed down on me.
I’m weary of being this person, of living life alone, of being afraid to live.
I’m more afraid of letting someone in. Again. It’s been five years.
Can I face the fear? Overcome the pain?
It’s time to find out. Because if I don’t… I’m not sure I’ll survive.
Today’s reality… I click and delete
January 8, 2018
“Weren’t you supposed to start classes today?” Gram asks, pushing her way into my room with her hip, her hands laden with shopping bags. Gram sure does love her shopping.
“I wasn’t up for it.”
Dumping the bags on my bed, she rests on the edge. Clearly she's planning on staying a while. “Weren’t up for it? What does that mean?”
“It means I wasn’t up for it, Gram,” I annunciate clearly, my eyes glued to the computer screen in front of me. Today's the start of winter semester at the local community college. Before the holidays I’d registered for two on-campus courses at everyone's urging. Stepping on campus will be a huge step for me; until now I’ve taken online courses. The idea of hanging out with cheerful co-eds all day has kept me from taking such a huge leap. However this morning, instead of getting ready for my first class, I’d pulled my email back up and began scrolling through the pages and pages of messages. I’ve been sitting here ever since. My fingers robotically clicking on each of the five-thousand-and-something messages in my inbox, deleting them one-by-one. I realize I could have done a mass delete. I'm not technology challenged. It would have been more efficient, and certainly less time consuming. But no, I click on each one. I’m not reading them, I don't bother to look at the senders’ names. I just delete. There’s something cathartic about it. About physically clicking on each message individually and pressing delete. Every checked box is a moment in time I ignored, pushed aside, or walked away from.
“Should I call Dr. Green?”
“No.” Click, delete. Click, delete.
“How about lunch? Have you eaten yet? We could grab something,” Gram suggests to the back of my head, her reflection in my computer screen. She’s leaning forward behind my right shoulder, her hand rests at the base of her neck in worry. I should turn around and give her the attention she deserves, but I’m transfixed with my task. Click, delete. Click, delete.
“I’m good.” Nothing matters except for emptying my email box of all the missed opportunities.
Click, delete. Click, delete.
The shopping bags rattle as Gram rises, and I follow her with my eyes. She wanders to my dresser and picks up a framed picture; it's the only one I keep of my parents. I wait for her to speak as she longingly stares at the picture. My hand stills. Her crumbling face reminds me that her pain is as acute as mine, and I feel guilty for being short with her. I love Gram, but she has a hard time letting me take care of myself. After the five years I’ve put her and Gramps through I suppose it’s understandable for her to be skeptical. Understandable, but aggravating. I’ve been taking classes and keeping my weekly appointments with Dr. Green. I haven’t slipped into my dark place since before my last stay at Crestdale.
I get stronger every day.
Not that it would take much for me to fall. I crave the release of the edge of a cool blade the way an addict craves his next hit. It's something that will never go away.
Today’s reality… it’s a leap in the dark
January 9, 2018
Leap - move quickly and suddenly
Dark - having very little or no light, hard to understand; obscure
Leap in the dark -- an action of which the consequences are unknown
Lifting my face to the sun, my eyes rove over the house I’ve lived in for the past five years. This house has been many things to me through the years: my refuge, my prison, my home. I allow myself one last glance before I slip into my car with a deep sigh. Today I take a leap in the dark. I need saving, and I have to save myself.
Between my conversation with Dr. Green and my birthday realization, I've come to understand one thing: it’s time to move forward. Time to take action, to take charge of my life. I don’t want to be sitting in a dark room alone next year on my birthday watching others celebrate.
My cell phone is plugged in, the GPS set. I don’t spare a backward glance as I back down the driveway and pull into the street.