Picture my idyllic attic and take notice of the big, black trunk that wasn’t there before. Can you hear its prisoner wailing for release? I don’t think I really meant to lock her in there; it was a kneejerk reaction. But now I don’t want to free her. At least not yet.
My white knuckles glow in the dark where they’re strangling the steering wheel. The road is so narrow I fear I’ll drive off the side or careen into oncoming traffic. Tires slip-slide on ice and crunch over snow. I’m not exactly sure where my rope began, but I am certain I’m at the end of it.
I think about what I’ve been driving away from for dozens of hours now. I think of how warm and safe and happy it was. I think about how it was everything I wanted and needed and how I don’t have that anymore and I feel something crack in my chest. I can’t breathe. A sound like a wail or a moan falls from the new hole near my heart.
Since I don’t know what else to do, I succumb. I let the inhuman noises wend their way through the cab of the truck and let my tears fall into my lap so that I can keep two hands on the wheel. I take quick, deep breaths, try to maintain control of them so I don’t lose any smidgen of consciousness and take us all back down the mountain. There is nothing I can do except keep my trembling hands on the wheel and foot on the pedal as internally I spiral deeper and deeper.
She’s in there; I can feel her. She’s a bull in a china shop. She’s going to be the death of me. So, with no preamble, I lock her away. I pad the inside of the trunk with blankets and trinkets to keep her warm and safe. Try to ignore the fact that a prison is a prison, no matter how soft.
I didn’t know she was still in there until someone asked me where I was. Until I asked me where I was. Until I questioned the language I was speaking and the room I was in and who I am and who I’m becoming. But then I realize the roaring in my brain has been her all along. I’m sure the inside of the trunk is painted with bloody scratch marks.
First, I must sit among the trunks and orbs and tapestries. Feel the bite of the hardwood against my bones. Knock softly on her vessel and tell her how sorry I am. Talk her down so that when I unlatch the lid, she doesn’t explode and level my mind’s cathedral. We need the least amount of casualties possible. I want to save us both.
“You weren’t safe,” I murmur near the latch. She sobs in response. “But I’m going to make sure that when you come out, you will be. I’ve got you. I’m sorry. I’ve got you.”
She sniffles. “This is Loss.”
I stroke the leather of the trunk, imagining her skeletal fingertips opposite mine. “I know.”
“The first one was an Escape. A Rebirth. This is Loss. This feels like dying.”
Tears stream down my face. “I know.”
A pause. Then, “I don’t want to die alone.”
And neither do I. So I open the latch.
I am here.
I am here, but I am cavernous. I feel hollowed out, empty, depleted completely. Where I usually meet my demons with teeth bared and dare them to try, now I succumb to them. I give myself to pain and hope it’ll forge something stronger, because if I don’t continue to build my resilience muscle, I might buckle, and I might buckle soon. I can’t have trudged through his much shit just to drown in it now.
Lately, I flinch each time more is added to what I carry. I beg the Universe to slow down, to stop. I tell it I’ve had more than enough, to go bother someone else. That’s gotten me nowhere. So, here goes.
I have reason to believe not that the Universe is punishing me, but rather rewarding me by giving me exactly what I need to make it through. I often forget that betraying myself, locking myself away is my way of seeking a way out. But the only way out is through. And I need all the footpower I can get for endeavors such as this. So bring it, Universe. Let’s have it.
Since I am not ruled by fear, I decide that I would rather regret the things I did than the things I didn’t do. If I am but a sensory output of God that is gathering information, wouldn’t I rather wander as many paths as possible to get an optimally beautiful experience? I sense the scale in my gut that tells me when I’m crossing a line, and I trust that balancing act. Since I’ve spent the last two years of my life moving silently, I learned an independence I hadn’t even know was possible. I trust myself fully, completely, reverently. I know my heart is good. I know all my parts are good. Even the ones I try so desperately to lock away.