Wednesday, April 09, 2008

What It's Like

Like you just swallowed a live grenade.

Your emotional state is predictable. Every moment of every day can be divided into one of two categories.

Either the thing is about to explode, and every moment is thick with a nauseating, relentless expectation of disaster. The ringing phone might signal the blast. A door that opens might trigger it. If you think hard, you think, you might contain it. Concentrate it into submission. Sometimes it works for days--months even. Swallow hard and it will just keep ticking. And the nauseating sense of imminent disaster tries to convince you that it is preferable to the alternative.

Or it has just exploded, and your guts are everywhere. Dripping from the rafters. Which might just be a relief, if only your first and most persistent thought wasn't "now I have to clean this up." Which might be a relief if only it wasn't just a mess that nobody you know wants or should have to deal with. You try to smile and walk among the unmutilated as though everything was fine. You spray the mess down the drain, and the place is left clean, with an aftertaste of bleach and uselessness. Which is certainly preferable to the alternative.

If only you didn't know with absolute certainty that soon enough you'll sit back down at the table for another helping.