Sometimes when you least expect it, the air gets let out of the room. Like someone leached the color from the sun and knocked you to the floor. I’m left gasping and wondering how dark the bruises on my knees will be from the landing. Life isn’t fair. It isn't even polite about it. How we handle these times...how we grab the rail and drag ourselves up, frayed robe soaking in the tears. Heave a shuddered breath. And then another.
How we do this, is the ink of us...writing our story.
I work. Utterly cliché, I realize this; but when the world has fallen off its axis, this is how I cope. My emotional realm is a minefield somehow tacked together with spider webbing, treacherously fragile and perilous to enter. And thus, in the name of self-preservation, I pick up a hammer. Lug the ladder to the second floor. Gallons of paint and three trips to Home Depot later, the bedroom has been refinished. Stenciling added, wrought iron hung, the fireplace in it given a face lift.
Exhaustion temporarily erases memories.
The next day it begins again. Only now in my studio. Rip apart the desk and a hundred times down the stairs it seems, to haul its broken pieces to the curb. Halfway through I realize I have streaks of dust and grime smeared across my dampened cheeks. I scrape at them angrily with the rag I used to wipe the sink, adding green paint to the mess. Everything is a mess.
I don’t answer the phone. I know that I push everyone as far away as I can, hiding the ache. I run from friends, family...even strangers. I hide behind closed doors and glib comments. Texts that end in “lol.”
I press an ice-pack to my swollen eyes before the boys come through the door. Again. Wash my hands and put cookies on a plate for them to have with homework. Cookies can distract anyone.
I find myself wondering as I spend hour upon hour working on my physical world; sweat and blood, blisters and a missing knuckle...do I somehow think this is going to mend the other? Is this the result of too many hours of home improvement television? Do we really believe that a new kitchen can restore a marriage? A backyard makeover can rebuild a relationship? The home-improvement movement has hit a jackpot of staggering proportions. It seems rather delusional. But then again, a delusion or two, or just a distraction to keep from thinking…could be worse.
Sometimes simply moving, moving at all, keeps us from the edge.
I don’t know how anyone else does this….gets through. My rational mind tells me there is another side to get to, waiting. My emotional one doubts.
In the meantime, I’ve ripped off two nails and scraped the skin from my knee.