Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Pegs and Holes


Morning light burns the lingering mist from the trees as my white Toyota company van trundles over rickety brick streets, thumping to a stop at the light.  The red disk glows with a thin damp halo, summer’s humidity already dragging hazy fingers across the cobalt sky.  Spinning tires hum over grey pavement, weaving through the meandering pulse of the radio and my mind wanders…

I’m headed to a client’s apartment. In her 50’s, she has curly grey hair, twinkling childlike eyes, and no one. Her family abandoned her to an institution decades ago and there is a staggering story of her mother throwing her down the stairs when she was six, resulting in the brain damage that altered the course of her everything.  Years on the street, raped, transient, she has lived through a hurricane life I shudder to think about.  But now?  Now she has a small one bedroom apartment in a building that used to be an elementary school.  Wide hardwood doors and long hallways still seem to echo with the voices of children when I’m there.  She loves Elvis, he’s all over her walls.  Every Monday I come; she waits for the electric buzz of my finger on the button marked 104.  I watch while she methodically fills her pillbox and I double check, counting the pastel colored marbles that equal stability to her.

As I drive, I can see her smile in my mind and my lips curve in response.  We’ll make a list of fresh veges and fruit and I will run her to the corner market and help carry her cherished mushrooms and sweet tea inside.  I will wish her a lovely afternoon and she’ll thank me and hold the door open heartbeats longer than necessary to watch me leave.  I will wave and promise to come back Wednesday.  Then more pavement and another buzzer and another pill box.

All of this quite seriously changes the fabric, the weave of another life.  It is good.  Right and strong and…good. 

As I drive my eyes trace the telephone poles connected by waves of black wire, a strange aerial sea that swoops and dips up over the hill.  There is a sense of wrong so thick within my car I nearly choke.  My throat closes, muscles spasm and my hands clench the wheel, white knuckles rigid knobs of bone and flesh.

In a world that spills out entirely too many movies that have themes of “she felt out of place, like she was missing her calling, until….”  Am I caught up in such a delusion, such selfishness?  That while in the very midst of doing so much right – it feels so wrong?  I feel out of place, like I’ve crammed a literal square peg into a round hole, shaving off the corners; a pulp of sinew and mangled skin left behind.

My co-workers are wonderful, my boss is funny and compassionate. And I am writing nothing.  I have oceans inside…instead I drive and smile and help and hug and drive and count and smile and drive…

I am doing such good.  But sometimes the weight, the palpable taste of what I am not doing is thick and heavy inside my mouth.  It coats my hair and drips into my dreams at night, reeking like tar and sadness.  This wrongness…how can it be so dense in the midst of such right?
 
 
 
 

10 comments:

Robbie Grey said...

How indeed? I do not have a good answer. Perhaps you will find a way. Or, at least, that is my hope.

Chantel said...

Ah Robbie, I'm losing my voice, I fear. But thank you, I have notebooks, legal pads, with unfinished scribbles...nonsense and broken thoughts scratched out at red lights and in hot parking lots. But there are nights when I cannot sleep, that I spend hours reading the words of my friends... xo

Geo. said...

Read this over and over and the emotional impact remains. You sure write good. My compliments and admiration.

terlee said...

Ah, my friend...take comfort from how much you're helping others right now. Your time will come.

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

From this, it would not appear that you are losing your voice. But I realize you are desperately missing the opportunity to write...and to paint? I Hope your time will come, and it will be fabulous.

Chantel said...

Geo - you are incredibly kind. I rather felt like I was just emotionally vomiting here. I think I feel the most guilt because I tell none of this to anyone.

Terri - I am hanging onto that thought like a drowning man to a log.

Nancy - Thank you, I know life isn't static, but it's been months of a kind of stunted routine....I don't feel like me anymore and I suppose I'm worried that me is evaporating. Ah well...

Freckled Philologist said...

Oh, I have, emphasis!, missed your writing. Maybe you'll find a way and the time to let it all out here, where you have loyal readers, heart friends like me. I have thought of you so many times when I myself am emotionally mute and though you've inspired my thoughts, even when the heart, head and words still don't find a way. My prayers to express the sad, the good, the pain, the laughter, ... our lives, will be for you, too. Besos mil.

Candy Washburne said...

SUCH*** an exquisite talent of words....

Mary Degli Esposti said...

You are compelled to write, but there is a also a reason you took that job. The only one available? I don't think so. But it isn't wrong to want other or more. The heart surgeon my wish she was singing opera or designing a clothing line. And sometimes, she may be doing some of that too.

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