How do I tell her?
How do I explain in a text message that I am inexplicably caught constantly tabulating the incalculable burden of obligation?
How do I confess that every single sleepless night my mind unintentionally fills and chokes full with formulaic frustrations, all neatly tallied and categorized into tidy little lists?
Every day dawns stubbornly stillborn here in this place no longer fertile with the initial promises of illusive stability. Life instead gets bogged down and impregnated with a cacophony of humdrum dial tone stagnation.
The compulsion to try doing the “right” thing- measured by someone’s unlisted definitions, anyway. Paying that bill. And the next one. And the one after that. The unceasing drive to do a good job, even though very few people are even capable of recognizing such efforts these days. The push to make new art, even if it’s ridiculously bad and categorically misunderstood. Always striving to embody a faithful incarnation of being a decent American, even though so many others already hate even the idea of that personification, often for simply having a different perspective.
And it’s all so fucking exhausting.
The same thing, day after day. Over and over again. Caught grinding through the pattern all for the sake of getting to do it all over again the next day.
And she laughed at me when I said that I think she remains salvageable.
I was called crazy when I said that she is still fixable.
Because I know that she feels it, too.
That same dark and suffocating pressure. That inconceivably infectious small-town Hoosier guilt, stubborn enough to survive the decades passing and the brighter shine of a bigger city.
There too often feels like there is very little bright out on the horizon. Sometimes, the darkness of another sleepless night overshadows any guiding beacon left to draw her closer to a safer harbor from the storm.
But I’m not ready to give up on that cliché happy ending. At least not yet. And I refuse to let her give up, too. Because I know that there is a satisfying brightness, just behind the grey clouds. I remain convinced that there is still a lasting serenity to be found, cowering behind all the chaos and noise.
The flame within her still flickers, all these many years later. It may not be quite as durable, or strong, as it was years ago. But it is still there.
I can see it clearly, from several states away.
And I’m going to do my absolute best to blow earnestly upon her few remaining embers- HR repercussions be damned- down on my knees, huffing and puffing, until I blow her hesitations down.