In and Out

hand made cards, collage art

♦ ♦ ♦

Awake at 4:00.  Panic and sinking despair.  Read email and blogs to calm, calm, calm. But the discomfort like gravel under the skin, ants in the brain.  Go! Go! Go!  Dash water on our face and find clean underwear.  Enough grooming.  Go!  Will jump in the truck and Drive.  To the Forbidden City.  Starbucks.  A movie later.

Another voice.  So quiet.  *wait.

Check billfold.  $45 to last two more weeks.  Not enough.  Check movies and times.  Ah, one we haven’t seen.  Print out the free soda coupon.  Check bank account.  Balance on the Visa is HighHighHigh.  Nothing left in checking.

*don’t do this today.

We lay on the floor to listen better to the quiet voice.  Want to bolt.  Need to bolt.  But can’t squeeze past the facts.  Have to.  Have to.  Can’t stay in town.  No proper coffee in town anymore.  No proper writing place.  Can’t come back to the apartment-prison.  Can’tCan’tCan’t.  Go now.

*wait.  can you hold the tension?

No.  Too much.  Drowning.

*think of it like an experiment.  try, and see what happens.  try one thing.

On the floor with Henry watching from the chair.  We can go to the Y.  Ride the recumbent bike.  Walk.

*yes, then what?

Then, we’ll see.


We walk to the Y.  Ride the bike.  Moving through syrup.  Pain.  Exhausted before starting.  Stumbling tired after.

*what now?

Experimenting and holding the tension of flight or fight.

*can you stay?  *can you keep from spending money today?

We will stay in town.  We have a gift card for the movies here.  Maybe go later.  Forget going to the inadequate cafe.  Make our own chai.  Need almond milk.  Forget going to the grocery store.  Too tired.  Too much pain.  Make a meal from what we have.  Healthy, but too much.  Staying, but eating.  Can only hold so much tension.  Drop into eating and watching a movie.  Then, drop into full sleep.  For hours.

Wake up like a drunk.  Out on the sidewalk with the iPod and an apple.  Walk.  Eat a proper snack.  Feel the breeze—sun-warm on the top, October-cool on the bottom.  Shuffle through drifts of leaves.  Plodding, plodding.  Still, the gravel under the skin.  Still, the ants in the brain.  Feet are platters, swollen and sore.  Body feels huge, bloated.  FeelFeelFeel.  But, the urgent voice is quiet.  Only the Other voice is here.

*breathe.  turn your face to the sun.  yes…

We miss our street concentrating on putting one platter in front of the other.  Funny.  At home, we pound a nail and hang a picture.  We need a companion for this picture.  TensionTensionTension.  Online we find one.  Not too expensive.  And we need double-sided tape.  And…and…and…  Tension stretches and snaps.  Running free.  Almost.  Remove items from the shopping cart.  DeleteDeleteDelete. $35 spent.  Not too bad.

*come back to holding the tension. be curious.  can you keep coming back?

Daylight fades.  Henry sits at the window watching the street go dark.  Time to shroud the TV.  Time to write.  Time to breathe.  In and out.  Like the tension.  Like the experiment.  In and out.

In and out.

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Moss Piglet
    Oct 20, 2012 @ 19:19:01

    I’m too scared to go out at 4am and I have never been to Starbucks.


  2. littlesundog
    Oct 20, 2012 @ 20:24:44

    I seem to seek out the computer when I’m up at ungodly hours. A Starbucks would be wonderful, but the nearest one is an hour away. I’m glad you made it through… despite Henry not being of much help. Still, these hairy beasts are a comfort, aren’t they?


  3. Sheryl Mae
    Oct 21, 2012 @ 14:27:23

    The quiet voice seems to be getting louder – something you can hear now. Whether you can pay attention to it more remains to be seen. At least it’s within hailing distance.


  4. Fork in My Eye
    Oct 21, 2012 @ 21:35:31

    If you’re up early again, go outside and look up. You just might see a meteor. The Orionids should still be visible through tomorrow morning. I woke up a 5:00 this morning, tired and frustrated because it was the third time I’d been up that night. So I gave up and took my camera and tripod out in the driveway. I was irritated and not at all in the mood to fool with it, but after an hour or so, I felt much quieter. Even if you don’t catch a meteor, the stars (and Jupiter) were so brilliant just before dawn, it was worth it. Sorry you had such an intense day but I have to say, you do such an excellent job writing about it – “ants in the brain.” I particularly liked that metaphor. I spend half my life wired and anxious and it feels a lot like you describe – or like a fly buzzing against the glass. Not fun.


    • Sandy Sue
      Oct 22, 2012 @ 05:32:47

      Is Jupiter the bright eastern star in the morning? I’ve been saluting her when I start my trek to the Y each morning. So nice to know her name!


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