WALK

Please be brave enough

to love

to play 

to lose

to hurt

to heal

to hold

 

And when it is all over, don’t forget

to dance

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An Insomniac’s Diary of 5 years

Of the nights that I have not slept, these are the ones I will remember most:

 

  1. My arm is in a sling and I cannot move it. I am sleeping on the roof of a boat and it is cold. There is a collection of bats flying overhead and they make funny noises and scratch the sides of the boat. Moving makes my arm hurt, but I am restless and cannot lay still. I am the only one awake on the boat.
  2. I am mixing pumpkin bread in the dark with a wooden spoon so as to not wake the children. Something must be done with all these hours and when they wake, they will be happy there is bread.
  3. I believe I must have been in the bathtub for an hour. I think I was angry at first, now I am only wet. Very wet.
  4. They think I am asleep. They are in the other room. They are talking. They are laughing. They never come to visit, but now (when I almost wish that they wouldn’t)—they are here.
  5. Laundry is a beautiful task. There is so much which can so easily be made perfect. Perfect creases, perfect folds; perfect sandwiches of pants, perfect piles of socks. I almost wish I had more laundry I could do. But a friend is helping me carry the basket up the stairs and I am glad. I am glad to see him, to hear his voice, to listen to him speak as I make piles of perfect things to make up for all that is not perfect. He is a nice man.
  6. I am never so hot as this. Sweating through the night has never been my trouble. I have always been the one to be cold—to wear extra sweaters, to build cocoons out of blankets that reach up to my face. Tonight I lie flat on my back with the blanket tumbled to the right side of the bed and I stare at the ceiling. I am in a desert. I suddenly realize that I have fallen in love with a desert. My parched lips tell me that the desert cannot love in return.
  7. I have run everywhere and there is nowhere else to run. I come home and say without thinking “I am so tired of competing with asian women!” Nobody appreciated that. I know it wasn’t nice, but I guess I’d been thinking it for years. It’s a little sickly how good an explosion can feel.
  8. The parents are not home. I locked all the doors but still feel fear. But most of all I feel the loneliness of a single mother sleeping alone in a quiet house. Though I guess it is little more than the smallest fraction of that feeling. But weak as I am, I cannot stand it, and so I bring the little girls to my room and fall asleep kissing their little faces.
  9. It is the last night of camp. I have finished packing my own things, so I decide to pack my friends. None of her clothes are folded so this gives me plenty to do. I hear the others downstairs. In my mind I see them laughing and dancing and eating things covered in whipped cream. I think I would like to cry now, but instead I get out the windex. I shall clean all the counters and all the windows and all the floors. But first I sit on the porch and listen. I listen to the life I have chosen not to live, the words I have chosen not to say, the risks I have chosen not to take. Then, after a few minutes have past, I get back to work. There is plenty to do; plenty to pack.
  10. I think I thought there would be some sort of closure. That something would be said—that something would be done. He sat on one couch and I on the other, staring forward saying nothing. I think I would have liked to cry but I think they were looking for keys. I regret coming. I regret hoping he would care. After being in the room some twenty minutes in silence, I decide to leave. I do not believe that he noticed. If he did, he certainly did not let me know. It’s odd how much I’m not supposed to care. It’s odd how much I do care in spite of it all. I wish I had said something. I wish I had said anything!Image

Handhold

Lauren you are little,

but you won’t always be.

I can still remember

that time when  you were three. 

 

I came and sat beside 

your bed–I’d dreamt that you 

had drowned. 

 

I wanted to make sure 

that you were safe and whole 

and sound. 

 

Now I wake up in the 

morning and hear your fingers

play–whimsically but steady–

they always find their way. 

 

My baby you are growing, 

it’s hard to say though true.

But when I hold your sweaty

little hand inside of mine

 

I know the time for growing 

is not done. My dear, we’ve still 

got time. 

On Congestion

I wonder what we are meant to learn from

 the nights we can’t breathe—the nights we

 can’t sleep for lack of air. Perhaps we are to

 realize that air is beautiful alone? Perhaps

we are to understand that to not breathe is

terrifying? So what of living? Is breathing

enough alone? To be grateful for, I mean. 

My Angels

When I was little they told me in church

that I was never alone, even if it felt like I was.

 

I didn’t understand that I would need to remember this.

I didn’t understand that they were speaking to my future self.

 

When I was little they told me in church

that if I was sad, I just needed to pray.

 

I didn’t understand that I would need to remember this.

I didn’t understand that they were speaking to my future self.

 

When I was little they told me in church

that things would always work out, that everything would be ok.

 

I didn’t understand that I would need to remember this.

I didn’t understand that they were speaking to my future self.

 

When I was little they told me in church

to always believe, even when it was dark and I couldn’t see—

that there was a way out of misery—that someone would always

dry my eyes—that crying in the corner wouldn’t bring the light in.

 

I didn’t understand that I would need to remember this.

I didn’t understand that they were speaking to my future self.

 

One day, when I was sitting on the drain in my shower, with my hair over my face and my arms around my knees, with the doors locked—I remembered.

I said a prayer and opened the door. The angels held me in their arms. They brought movies and tissues and chocolate and love.

The angels were my roommates.

The Crutch Life

My leg feels like a noodle

My head feels like a rock

My heart feels like a racecar

That simply will not stop

 

My underarms have bruises,

My back still has a scar.

 

My stomach feels like paper

Pushed down way, way too far.

 

Scene

Image

It is November. Boy and girl stand in front of the harbor with their arms over the railing, staring at a boat. Boy is on the right, girl is on the left.

 

Boy: You see that rope right there?

 

Girl: Yeah

 

Awkward pause, Girl glances towards boy quizzically

 

Boy: We could climb up it and weasel our way in through that window.

 

Girl laughs softly

 

Girl: But how would we get to the rope?

 

Boy shakes his head

 

Boy: Well, you know, hypothetically it could work.

 

Girl smiles to herself, turns to boy

 

Girl: How much further do we need to get again?

 

To make the room less empty

Image

I bought myself flowers on

The eigth of July. A no good

Mother I was for them. I cut

off their stems, stuck them

 in a bottle and expected them

to live.

 

They died in two days.

 

They died and I watched them

Die—from the corner of the

room I didn’t want to live in

anymore. Then… I missed them.

I asked for more flowers.

 

The flowers never came.