Saturday, January 19, 2013

the art of swimming to shore

1. We know you have tried valiantly to shut out the type of useless information that will cause you pain. You don't see the point of going to the old spots, of possibly running into him, of seeing who he's with. He didn't do anything wrong, but you're just trying to take care of yourself.  We appreciate your effort. But we think it's important that you know, anyway. So we arrange for you to find out. You see a picture. Him with somebody new. Carefree, happy. On a trip. Just one picture, we thought that it would be okay.

2. You're writing on a Sunday night, drinking a hot chocolate instead of coffee. This is generally when you write, you like the midnight deadline and how it forces you to organize your thoughts. You're a last minute kind of girl. You just submitted two articles, to glowing praise from the editor, and you've got that little surge of triumph. You're doing so well, just in general, we thought it would be okay. You're working full time, and all the skiing. You have just about everything you need and then some. You've lost ten pounds. You look great. Really.

3. So your reaction, we have to admit, confuses us. You do not take it well. You grab your stomach like you've just been punched, rush to close the offensive window on the computer. You're frustrated- this is what you didn't want to happen. You pack up quickly, hands skittering across the table, in a hurry. When you reach the door there is a table full of police officers who turn and smile at you. You smile back. Then you go outside and start to cry.

4. It's extremely foggy outside, a freezing fog. Very strange weather. Watch out for those runaway trains.

5. You're crying very hard now. Maybe you shouldn't be driving.

6. We really don't think you ought to be driving.

7. You're becoming a little hysterical. You sob until you start to cough, gripping the steering wheel, trying to navigate through the blanket of fog and the distorted lens of tears. Then you pull over and throw up the hot chocolate. There goes four dollars, you think blankly, a little surprised.

You're not the only one who is surprised. This reaction, while not altogether illogical, is certainly unnecessary. It seems to be a bit out of nowhere. You're a puzzle.

8. As you stand by the side of the road, feeling spinny, it occurs to you that you might be going through a fairly significant depression.

9. Now we're starting to feel a little uneasy. You sort of had us fooled; we thought you were farther along than this. So did you, apparently. You're back on the road. You shouldn't be alone. We arrange for a friend to call at that moment, we pull some strings. It's the least we can do.

10. You wind up at your friends' house, a decision which causes us great relief. It's ten thirty at night, they were already in bed. She leads you to the couch, takes you fully into her arms like you're a kid. Your forehead is hot. She soothes you as if you were her own daughter. Her own daughter is sleeping in the nursery just a few yards away. As a courtesy, you cry silently.

8. Then he gets up and sits with you for a few minutes. He's known you since you were fifteen, he was your high school teacher, of all things, but he's never seen you like this. There are big tears running down your face. He says, "those are some big tears." You sleep in a bed in their basement.

9. We're struggling with the idea that we may have jumped the gun. Maybe you were right, that ignorance is bliss. But we really thought you ought to know. The baby cries all night and keeps you half awake. You're aware of those transitions that normally occur during sleep: the sadness melting and forming a new shape, something that feels more like exhaustion, but in a good way, like a ship finally pulling away from the harbor and slowly fading out of site. By morning you've realized this: it's not going to get any worse. In this realization there is an endless supply of relief.

10. We understand the cliche of a writer writing about depression, coming up with shaky metaphors that work, barely, to both explain how it feels and to keep it a little bit at arm's length. But that's what you get to do now. Maybe for better, maybe worse, definitely a little surreal and probably lacking in judgement, but we'll make sure you're capable of it. It might make it all worth it in the end.

Like we said, it's the least we can do.

14 comments:

Sarah said...

((hugs))....beautiful piece....i'm sorry that you're hurting so much!

Jeff in Oregon said...

Love you Lina.

cindy said...

Beautiful things hardly ever make any sense. Feeling something. Anything. That's the human part, right? Beauty in the irrational walloping of...of (insert nice metaphor here.) Rationalization? Maybe. But the benevolent "we" and the narrative dance, it all turns up at the right moment. like the phone call. to sift through and make art of the unintentional goring. me too. why do bigger tears always feel more satisfying? like...big wet words, falling down the page cause they know. they feel it too.

cindy said...

Beautiful things hardly ever make any sense. Feeling something. Anything. That's the human part, right? Beauty in the irrational walloping of...of (insert nice metaphor here.) Rationalization? Maybe. But the benevolent "we" and the narrative dance, it all turns up at the right moment. like the phone call. to sift through and make art of the unintentional goring. me too. why do bigger tears always feel more satisfying? like...big wet words, falling down the page cause they know. they feel it too.

Stephanie said...

This is beautifully, soulfully written. Thank you for sharing your heart. Want me to hold it for you for a little while? When mine hurts I give it away too.

Anonymous said...

Hey - you don't know me, but I've been reading your blog for a year now - I just wanted to say that I'm so sorry to hear that things are so sucky right now. :( Oy vey to all things heartbreak.

I'm rooting for you from the other side of the world!

Hang in there.

- Kay

Bethany Davidson-Widby said...

So glad those 2 friends were there to hold you tight. They're pretty awesome aren't they? Give them both a hug for me next time you see them...an extra one...from me. Love you bunches my friend. You're going to be okay - I promise. xoxo

Catherine said...

Oh, Melina... I can feel that hole in my stomach when I read your words. There are heartbreaks and there are depressions and when both mix up, it's rough. Do not underestimate the biochemical factors. You seem to have a great network, but sometimes, just sometimes, it's not enough. It's OK not to be strong.

In another line of though, we went climbing with our girls at Enchanted Rock in Texas yesterday and it was such a flop... I am passed my climbing prime and could not help but think of you... and what Nici said about you being us 10 years ago and us being you 10 years later... Anyways, I wrote a post about it.... http://catherine-et-les-fees.blogspot.com/2013/01/an-unenchanting-day-at-enchanted-rock.html

Anonymous said...

Aww shucks. Wish I could've provided a better nights sleep. I guess Ella was feeling your pain too.

Amy said...

Your writing.... I can feel every single one of those moments.
Sorry that shit sucks right now.
I have heard a rumor that is pretty much always gets better.
(hugs)

Anonymous said...

I have been in this very same painful situation, and I am currently blissfully ignorant with my ex. However, I do think this moment will help you move on, to a great love! Speaking of love, I am in love with your blog! You are amazing!

Anonymous said...

I have been in this very same painful situation, and I am currently blissfully ignorant with my ex. However, I do think this moment will help you move on, to a great love! Speaking of love, I am in love with your blog! You are amazing!

Liane said...

This was beautifully written. I'm so sorry that you're having such a hard time. Thank god for good friends that were there for you when you needed them. Even though you probably don't feel like it right now that makes you so very very blessed.. What I wouldn't give for friends that I could call on at all hours!

I hope you manage to find some peace soon
Liane x

She Of The Never Never said...

Time heals. I know this...

Until then, keep going to sleep and getting up, and keep on putting one foot in front of the other...

One day you will look back at now, and it will still be sad, but you will be healed...

x