Running shoes on but I walk. Turn right out the drive because I am feeling dangerous and left leads out of the neighborhood; I can feel myself, I might not return. So I go right. But I go far. Choose new turns to make the longest way back home.
I listen to the music and she sings my soul. Good thing someone has words, ’cause I’m out. Fuck. A writer without words. Jesus. I say it in my head, half prayer, half swear. Keep going. The air is cool and it’s no small blessing. It’s September in Florida and I’m stifled.
Uphill again and I don’t mind the strain. Maybe I’ll get stronger. At least thinner, that might help some. No, it won’t. Climb anyway. Past houses that are too big for their lots and how did I end up here? Where did this life come from, stuffed in a great big house, Russian dolls stacked wrong-ways? Jesus.
The grass offers me recline but I have to keep going. I don’t know where, just go. I walk past woods that lead down to a creek and I get why Virginia Woolf filled her pockets with rocks. Jesus. Keep on going and the daisy-looking weeds are hopeful, remind me of the girl who brought me one home from her happy walk, left it on my bathroom counter. Left it amid my mess.
The trees dip branches toward me and I’d like to touch nature but I can’t yet; it’s too good. So I lift a silent doxology, praise the God from whom all blessings flow, trust they keep coming even when I can’t feel them. Walk on, about halfway home.
End of the road and I have a choice. Out of the neighborhood and across the four-lane highway? Dangerous, dangerous. Cars and speed and me. Jesus. But across the highway, lit bright by dusking sun, a field. He’s talked of it, where it leads to a path, so beautiful– I’ve never seen it. She’s been there, promised to take me, when we could see stars and burn our own fire. Slow my pace at the end of the road and consider it. A field to lie down in, and space.
But I turn toward the road that leads home, have to go, have to be there; for them, maybe even for me. Two neighborhood girls, one on bike, chatting easily but the one with the frizzy ponytail and chubby frame reminds me. I knew the girl in high school, and now he’s a man, blessed doctors helped him match his outsides to his in. Hope someday I’ll match, but hell if there’s an operation for that.
Nearing home and I pass a tree. Think about touching its bark, but the effort even to feel is too much. Pass it by, pass it by, dammit. Jesus. Up ahead I see more trees, new chances to feel; think about it– maybe. This one’s too far, I refuse to reach. Same for the next three lawns. Wish the trees were closer; can’t will myself near. Only two houses away from home now and this might be my last chance– touch the one closest to me. It’s rough and I rub its dust between my fingers. Thought it might feel like pain, but still nothing.
Keep going, slow as I can and still look normal. Jesus. One more tree, house before mine, I just want to do it so I do. This one’s sharper and I almost like the small hurt; at least I can feel.
Head up my driveway but the garage door’s shut. Turn up the walk and knock on my door like a stranger. Jesus. Oldest child lets me in, he’s half man and where have I been, and he’s built a new home of pillows and blankets for the littlest ones, and they love it. They invite me in, and I want to go. I just don’t know if I’ll fit.
As with all my posts on depression, I’ve waited to share with you until I am well again. If you’d like to read more of my writing on the topic, please see the following posts and check out Not Alone: Stories of Living with Depression, to which I am a contributing author.