Caught in that searing haze, between the oasis of sleep and the desert of restlessness, I hear her, and awaken. She is in the living room, talking with my roommate. I sit up, listen close – but she is not there. Back in the haze, I hear her again. She is on her phone, in the parking lot just off my balcony, urging me to wake up. I sit up, listen close – but she is not there. Once more, I return to the haze, yet more uneasily than the last. Once more, I hear her. She is tossing pebbles at my deck door, urging me to wake up. Once more, I sit up. And once more, she is not there.
Sleep does not come, so I retreat to my camel's hump: rum. Still, dreams come rumpled, unsettled. Poorly contained, they seep into each other. In each, the phone conversation: things aren't working, she says, we should take a break. Each time spiraling down: words become daggers; a break becomes forever; love becomes a poorly crafted promise, if ever anything at all.
Still asleep, the frenetic programming offers a CSI interruption. Two Bipolars, neither taking their lithium, both my age; one is murdered, and the other declares they are the Son of God. It is bizarre.
Back to the previous program, I am testing every possible death. After each, an angel both masculine and femine, both comforting and terrifying, greets me in a cool, hospital-like waiting room. Each time, it tells me I am in purgatory, and each time, it tells me my punishment for qualifying for neither Heaven nor Hell (I'm barred entrance from the elevators when I try my luck) is a return to Earth. Upon re-animating back to life, I find Katie each time, beg her to love me, beg her to let me continue loving her. Each time, we have the same, now familiar conversation. Each time, I kill myself again. I jump from a bridge, then a skyscraper, then a plane. Each time, damned back to earth. I do the physics, create a mechanism to drop a bible on my head from the sufficient height for the force of impact to break my neck. It still isn't enough. Determined to find the death that frees me from this Groundhog's Day, I try everything I can think of: slit wrists, electrocution, overdose, a fall on knives, drowning, and baked in an industrial oven later, I still have no success. I find chemicals that i know will attract predators, then digest them in quantities such that I can be eviscerated while still conscious. I jump into zoo cages, shoot myself out of a cannon, take a bath in nuclear waste. None of it is enough. The nightmare is eternal.
When I finally awake from the daisy-chain of terrors, it is morning. My alarm drones; I'm soaked in a cold sweat. Exhaustion and frustration teem from each stinking pore. I'm not sure which frustrates more: my inability to qualify for hell, the sad realization that Katie never told me anything even remotely uplifting1, or the fatigue heading into another full day of the crazy house that is school.
The day must go on, though, and I eat (barely), pack my bag (poorly), and am off on the morning run to work. Four miles of twenty mile-an-hour winds later, I'm at school; with time to kill before anyone shows up with keys, I do speed work in neighboring parking lots.
It is a long day; yesterday's honeymoon period has already worn back off, yet none of the other staff are back into work mode yet after the break. Returning home, another full day's miles logged, I find an old CSI recorded some time back, one I haven't seen. Half of the story is two Bipolars, one murdered by a well-intentioned parent, and the other convinced they are the son of god.
The vacuum of it all is haunting. Good vibrations shiver against the cold, and karma can't fight the chill of Minnesota. The only words I have are inadequate for the tasks I wish them, and overflow in the places I wish they'd stop. I lose myself in angry thoughts, self-defeating patterns. For the first time in months, I do sit-ups and push-ups with an old deck. Like old times, I pass out.
A friend asks if Katie is the one. Pressed, I admit to believing as much. Asked what the hold-up is, I can only respond that it takes time and the right context for two people to make it work forever. Our stories are the same... and still worlds apart; we talk less now – when on vacation – than when both busy. I no longer fear the reaper, instead merely hoping he walks slow, or gets sidetracked elsewhere. Reality is what it is.
Stability is all the things wished for, all the things loved, and now, recklessly missing, all the things you hate. It's the floor above the elevator of dreams, the untouchable Brahmin to the dirty leper. These layers of skin just keep peeling away, and the only nervous system I find is full of fear and doubts and pain. The only solace is emptiness (fatigued) or drunkenness (despondent), but neither makes me any less skilled at destroying the best things I have going for me.
Food has no draw, not like this. Pasty-mouthed, I don't eat. My weight started to rise back a few days, but has crashed once more; though I can't find the scale, the mirror tells me all I need to know: I am disappearing, losing to shadows once more. Knots swallow hard, and I either lay or run. Fight, I cannot. There is only flight, and when my legs go no more, defeat.
It is not a good day, though a rare smile comes when I think of it in Alexander's terms. Terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, indeed. On the phone, Katie asks if I'm okay. fine, I tell her, just fine. I'm always fine.
We might talk later. We most likely won't. You can only tell someone the things they're ready to hear, and she's not ready. These conversations are one-way; she can't hold me aloft, and as such, I won't ask her to. It's our unspoken agreement. Convenience doesn't hurt.
I wish I could say I had hope that someday it'll be different. But the truth is, I don't. I'm not her sun; in time, she'll gravitate elsewhere. Days like today, I feel more a black hole. I hate Copernicus, Kepler, Brahe and the gang more every time I think of it.
1. Yes, this is what sticks with me, not fear at the number of suicide methods I was able to come up with. Pathetic, isn't it?