I walked there with my head down, letting my feet take over. I’d woken up in a mood. You must understand- noticing any mood at all was a change of pace for me. Even if later I wasn’t able to differentiate what mood it was- whether I’d felt relief, or clarity, or just a subtle awareness of my surroundings, I knew it was a change from the billows of gray clouds that served as one giant mental handcuff for my thoughts. Once I reached my destination, I noticed huddles of disgruntled beggars in front of Rite Aid. People sitting on the steps engaged in complaints about their broken lives. I said excuse me, but nobody noticed. I had to step around to get by. I walked carefully, as if I weren’t so focused on letting the sting of cold air burn my cheeks rather than wonder why I felt so hurt all the time. But it wasn’t as if I was paying any mortgages anytime soon and I lived in this head. Even when I wanted out. Escapism wasn’t working so well, you see.
It started in my head. Most things do. My head swarmed with knots. Dread overtook the simplest actions. Every time I fought to forget anything they had ever said to me, I failed. The gigantic leap between where they said they’d d be and where they were now was implanted. The huge gap was making my ability to go forwards- my philosophy: one foot in front of the other, perpetual forward motion and lateral thinking- difficult. I imagine that certain drugs eat holes in your brain. Now I had one in my heart, where I couldn’t go or see. People always had to tell me what I felt. Instead of that turning up on my telescope, it was like a green dot. Radiation, it said.
So maybe the heart thing was a shadow, or maybe just a little inflamed tissue. Surely nothing to be afraid about. But just in case, I blocked everything up so nothing could get out.
No more leaks.
But the music in my head kept going even though I’d put a stop to music. I’d broken the metronome and put the lid to the piano down. I’d thrown my scores into a vaporizer and waited with my hand on the detonator.
For no matter how many times I’d forgiven, I now lived with a new kind of hesitancy that took over my movements. I no longer walked in a stride. So afraid of the next time the discord would strike. All because I had no weapons against it. This from a person who hated the usage of weapons, desperate to find someone more desperate than me who had survived without weapons. Their bare fists. Their bare everything.
The stakes had changed. What was there to lose? I had nothing to lose, except the smell of burnt matter.
I tried. To turn the music in my head backwards was like a screeching sound, drilling railroad tracks. I thought I knew how to escape pain. I thought I was strong. But I’d run out of chances. There was no escape from something that repeated so many times. My faith was my only weapon but it kept hurting me. I kept believing that this time they wouldn’t lie, as they did so many times, because there once was a time when they did not squeeze everything they touched. I kept trying to pry the tension from their grip, “Stop trying to force me, I don’t like how it feels,” they told me.
I didn’t like being pushed away. They didn’t like being pulled. We both had bloody knees.
“Pray to God on it,” the lady with olive skin and profuse, accepting eyes told me. She held my hand and kissed me. “The people who blow up buildings say God told them to do it,” I told her. I had a feeling I’d interpret my hearts wishes as what I wanted me to do when there was no way I could know what the right thing to do was.
It was not useful to go places where I could not trust myself. That was everywhere. The shadows.