Relief is Optional
I tumble into the words. An onslaught, downpour of thoughts taking hold of me, immobilizing. A few feet away, a confused bird sings a morning song in the crease of night. Too many street lights out here, not enough room for the stars.
Hugging my elbows close to my ribs, I jut my chin upwards and search for the moon, some kind of natural guiding light, finding only dirty clouds and floodlights.
At least the air out here still feels real, not circulating for hours upon hours through some obscure machine. Even the water these days is man made.
The sky is so big, I’d sit down on the grass to take more of it in if I could, but all I have is asphalt.
I’ll take what I can get.
Seated between the sternly measured parking lines, I can still feel the warmth of the earth seeping through from cracks and fissures where nature had clawed her way back out, gasping for air via unassuming green strands, warrior grass. With a pang of something like envy, I realize that I don’t feel much like a warrior tonight. Hedged tightly in the awkwardly sprawling apartment spaces between highways and church buildings, hotels and the golf course, fast-food chains and a field full of cows, I can feel the weight of the dissonance buckling in on me.
I put my head in my hands and sob softly, relieved and ashamed to feel human again. Decades of abuse, rejection and inadequacy wash over me, filling my lungs and throat with a vile, stinging burn. The breaths hiccup out of my double-chinned throat, but no one can see me out here. There are too many people around. I’ve always lived somewhere in the lines between irony. Not sick enough to be in the hospital, not well enough to adapt on my own. Not able to live at home, not able to survive away. Threatened always, but forced to protect, instead.
The lump in my throat has become too large to swallow, and I struggle to pull my weight off the ground. Too much weight and too little food. I crawl inside my apartment and shut the door, locking it before I slump over on the yellowed square tiles. My cat whines worriedly, and I clutch him to my chest, pushing my back against the wall. The closest thing I’ll get to a hug in a long, long time. Maybe years.