My life has been reduced to an ongoing journey of finding a flower in the crack of the sidewalk and hoping it sustains me until I spot another. The flower can be a stunningly beautiful sentence in a book; a message from a friend that they miss me; a child’s lovely sidewalk drawing: exceptions to a life that largely revolves around physical and emotional survival.
Two more years, say the microbiologists. Does that mean two more years without a visitor? Two more years without touch? Survival for the purposes of…what?
I wish there were an island for those of us who have nothing to lose. People without children or spouses or dependents of any sort. We could frolic and laugh and touch and fight and talk and fuck, and if we get sick we won’t have to feel guilty about hurting anyone else because we all chose to be there. This fantasy is interrupted by the sobering reality that I would probably be accompanied on that island by gun toting, right-wing freaks that have different reasons for being there. Real “freedom” fighting ‘Mericans.
Four clients today. One tomorrow. Then “vacation”. I can’t afford a vacation. It’s a dangerous choice economically without any new business. But I need to trade hells for a while. I can go from the exhausting hell of taking care of so many people to the meaningless hell of doing nothing that has any real meaning in the scheme of things. Yes, the latter is probably preferable but sometimes you just need a change of scenery no matter how dissatisfying the new scenery.
Without anyone around I worry my resourcefulness won’t be enough. Hell, I was already resourceful. I’ve been resourceful all of my life. I’ve found beauty in the mundane, and in my imagination. I have filled my need for love by cultivating friendships and finding a meaningful career. I have learned to be okay with being alone. All of this was out of necessity and I’m proud of it. But when so many of the payoffs are gone…well full circle to the first sentence…life is just about hoping you find enough flowers to get you through another day.
I worry that my reader will deem me a negative person. I imagine them showing off to me that they are enjoying their life; that they have taken up the piano and that I should just pick up a new hobby. Or perhaps that is just my inner-critic. To them I say, “shut up–I’m doing the best I can!”. I will continue to try to connect. I will continue to try and help other people. I will continue to try and find the beauty in the sparse landscape of my existence. I will fall to my knees. I will collapse. I will stand back up and walk. Crawl. Drag myself along. Up and down I will go. And all along the way there will be moments where I question why I bother getting up at all. And then I will spot the flower. And then I will only see the sparseness. And this is my life for now. And these are the tears that are already so very familiar. And the anger I feel toward my imaginary critic feels good because it means I still have some life and some pride.
But for now I have to clean my face up. Wipe the tears away. Quickly brush my fingers through my hair to make myself presentable to my four clients. Here I go….