Friday, June 7, 2013

In the Company of Unknowns

“Run with the hunted.”  - Charles Bukowski
I was the sort of sick to my stomach that isn't a sickness at all. It's a deep in the gut knowing that something is... not. quite. right.

I couldn't put my finger on it, and thought I might throw up at any given moment, so I gave up on peace and got out of bed. Antsy. Anticipating. It's a feeling I've known well in the past. I've experienced it when I was on the receiving end of a betrayal of Judas proportion but didn't yet know it. I've felt it right before someone I loved died, and another small handful of traumatic times that blessedly I can't recall in this moment, and with any luck have permanently blocked.

Rather than wind myself up in knots, I just decided to say, "Fuck it," and sat down with the nausea and the not knowing what, but knowing something was off, and that was when the strangest feeling settled in. I wouldn't call it peace. Not exactly. So what is it? My mind got quiet. I grew very still, and very clear, and very calm. And I still didn't know a damn thing.

That's the being alive component of tragedy. The lie is outed, and the heartache settles in. Someone calls and says they are dying, and you start preemptively grieving. Things get too sketchy, and you decide you've had enough, and you get outta Dodge in the middle of the night, leaving behind everything that wouldn't fit into two giant Hefty bags you stuffed in the trunk, with a pot of water still boiling on the stove. It hurts, and it hurts, and it hurts.

But all of the nausea and panic and puking out your angst never would have stopped that hurt. All it ever does is make you crazy with anticipation and wondering while you prepare for its arrival. You know it's coming, regardless of what you do or don't do now. So you may as well get quiet, because you're going to need stores and rations of it when whatever is going to happen finally arrives.

The waiting is the hardest part. At least for me. In the stillness I make peace with the fact that I am not at peace. I have lived through betrayal and death and frantic, unplanned moves. I have left behind entire lifetimes that wouldn't fit into the trunk. Somehow or another, it never did manage to kill me. I might have had to scrape my guts off the sidewalk a time or two and reassemble them at a later date, but who hasn't?

Growing tired of my own histrionics was the kindest thing I ever did for myself. Probably for everyone who has to have any dealings with me, too. Definitely for the people who love me through birth or circumstance. It takes a lot of energy to have an exit strategy for every imaginable tragedy that might set fire to your happiness and leave you burning in your bed. It's kind of a waste of time. If heartache is hunting you, you only have two choices, no matter how many spins you may put on them. You can run. Or you can turn around and stare it down, prepare yourself for a fight. Both have their merits, but you never really know which one will be the right choice until it's an on the spot decision. Plans all fly out the window once the adrenaline sets in. And either way, you usually get out alive.

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