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Jett Superior laid this on you on || August 30, 2008 || 4:52 pm

sometimes it consists of this

All day I have been walking around saying to myself, “It’s alright, it’s alriiiight, I’m okay.”

It’s hard admitting to you, oh World, that on days like this I don’t especially know who I am anymore, what my motivations are, where my resolve lies. Apathy twists my emotional arm, and then I get panicky, grief-stricken, my heart’s mouth stuck in a soundless O of panic; this all results in, of course, me thinking that I really am insane instead of just telling you so and then aping for the cameras.

Anger. Default. Easier than both panic and sorrow.

To the laydeh at the Piggly Wiggly this morning: I am not sorry I was actively rude to you. You are constantly actively rude to me and I am sick of play-acting that I am a patient, gracious, forgiving person. Trying really my hardest to be that person over the course of the last two or three years has hammer-beaten a crater in my middle which everything in me is forced to flow around, the sum of which is that I am exhausted, all ways exhausted: In my heart, my head, my spleen. It even hurts to place the bottoms of my feet on the carpet in the mornings. Fuck this.

To the laydeh at the Subway sandwich store, I am very sorry that I snapped at you about the handwashing thing. I have an adequate grasp on germ theory and am not especially terrified that the filthy money you were just handling would somehow infect me with some inconveniencing affliction or infection or even the sniffles. I, in fact, relish the thought of my immune system being shored up through such faux pas. Not treating immunities lightly is what is killing a lot of modern society. Bye-bye, Darwin says you deserve what you get, ninnies.

What I am indeed sorry about, oh Subway laydeh, is that long about the time we both sidestepped nearer to the lettuce bin I started crying in spite of myself. I’m very, very, very sorry about that. And mortified. I am mortified about that. I find it hard even admitting I have cried to someone, I find it repulsive to cry in front of someone I actually know, can you then imagine the horror of standing, one hand lightly atop the curved glass, tears unexpectedly breaking ranks to utterly and completely betray me? In front of strangers? In a semi-crowded PUBLIC PLACE? And then, when you asked me if I was okay, my face crumpling like so much discarded newsprint, forcing me to throw my free hand up and over my precociously-watering eyeballs…well, for all intents and purposes I might have fared better taking a bullet straight to the guts.

“Sweetie, sweetie,” you said quietly, and I noticed how pretty your eyes are and how unfairly your glasses detract from this, “are you okay?”

“Yes” I lied, “I just need to get home, is all.” What I really wanted to tell her, voice choking like a five-year-old betrayed, was, “No, I am terribly frightened, because I don’t know from whence these tears came or –more importantly– when they might stop. Unprovoked tears are funny that way, Subway laydeh, they carry the threat of not resolving themselves in quicklike fashion. One day they will create the tide upon which I am washed up into a straight jacket.”

In the car, and the tears bullied their way past my chest, my throat, my ill-behaving eyes. My sunglasses were huge, but they couldn’t hide the grimace that comes on when a particular fashion of crying manifests itself. When we were three blocks from home, Mathias asked me a question.

“Mom, are you okay?”

I can see it now. I can see the first sentence to his award-winning novel, the one that he will deftly navigate to film because there is nothing this kid cannot do once he is focused.

“I was nine the afternoon my mother, once and for all, lost her mind.” He would then go on to paint in words the gorgeousness of the day, the fact that I was in flip-flops and pigtails and had only just purchased him a pint Dutch Chocolate ice cream from the Piggly Wiggly. He would describe how, as he stoically sat in the seat next to mine and looked out the window in front of us while my sobs took all the oxygen out of the car, he asked me if I was okay.

And then the actress portraying me would turn to him, blowing her nose on a Subway napkin, push her sunglasses (somewhat askew) to the top of her head and take a deep breath.

Her lines are as follows:

“Sometimes, Mathias, mommy gets very, very sad. Only I show it by being mad. I’m sorry if I was snappy or short with you at the grocery store. I’ll be okay. Are you okay?”

He often speaks in mumbles, this Mathias. It drives me crazy, because he already has a dusky quality to his voice. Because there is so much going on in his brain, he sometimes overlooks conventional rules of nicety, like not to speak over two adults when they are talking (or two psuedo-adults: One who is ringing groceries and one who is angrily ripping a check from its leather home). You know, to tell his mother that –because he is a boy genius intent on translating the inventions in his brain to paper so that we mere mortals might get a glimpse of his incredible mental capacities– he has ONCE AGAIN misplaced his wallet, and that it is probably on Nana’s dining room table. “Can we run back there and pick it up?” His incredible forgetfulness also asses me continuously.

The actor-Mathias turns to face the actor-Momma. “I’m fine,” he says simply, and she has to believe him, because as opaque as he sometimes is, he is always a direct-answer-to-a-direct-question kinda guy. No matter that he is nine: He tells it like it is.

Then actor-mom crosses the railroad tracks, makes a quick series of turns and they are home. The camera cuts between boy, scooping ice cream into a glass bowl in the environs of a well-lit kitchen and his mother, slumped on her bed and weeping, slugging it out with her own flavor of brokenness.

And I’m startled because it came on just so suddenly and has left a hangover of hurt sitting all over me for the remainder of the afternoon. Mathias got picked up a couple of hours ago by his best friend’s mother; they are going to spend the afternoon playing (oh, the joy of two nerdy, expansive brains collaborating To Play! the angels sing triumphant on such occasions, I’m sure of it) and the evening at the skating rink.

Before he left, though, he came to see me in my room to say goodbye. I was sitting in my favorite reading chair when he did, busy folding linens. After he’d told me he was going now, he asked, “Mom, are you sad because you think you hurt my feelings earlier?”

“Maybe just a little.” It was sort of a lie, sort of not. Thinking that I’d maybe spoken out of frustration at him made me even more knotted up than I already had been, but that wasn’t the crux of the issue at hand. I didn’t know just what the fuck was to blame, really.

“Well, you didn’t. Okay?”

“Okay, son. Thank you.”

Then he bent down to hug me, one of those really great hugs that only he can give. They are so phenomenal because he presses his chest snugly to yours and you can actively feel that he is vulnerable, is putting all of himself into it without overpowering what you might have to give back. He hangs there in that moment for as long as need be.

With a kiss on my cheek, he said, “I’m going now,” and I bid him love and a good time with a huge polyphonic hum in my ears.

(It was this evening before it dawned on me: I get this way just before something huge happens. Something impactful, something that creates terror or havoc or loss. I don’t want to be some sort of goofy emotional barometer. It’s not a gift you can tell others about, like being able to play a Rachmaninoff piece skillfully on a contrabassoon or doing complex calculus in your head. It’s a gift that makes other people spit ugly words like ‘antipsychotics’ and ‘years of instensive therapy’ at. It’s a gift that people don’t want to think about because they often can’t fathom such freakishness. Sometimes I can’t even fathom it either, and I’m ready to assign those same labels myself. But then The Something happens that sent me flailing in the first place and I Remember, and I try to have patience with myself and with the way things are.)

12 worked it out »

  1. Kellie 8.30.2008

    No antipsychotics needed. I think you have a super power. Sounds like your body is preparing you for the heavy stuff that lies ahead so you can cope, deal, and handle anything. I hope everything is okay – but then again- your Jett Superior. Of course your okay. With your super power everything will be alright.

     
  2. Kellie 8.30.2008

    cause evey little ting/go-nah be alright

     
  3. Jettomatika 8.30.2008

    you are nice, the end.

     
  4. shonda 8.30.2008

    This is really mild in comparison to some of my public freak outs. Really.

     
  5. redclay 8.30.2008

    and don’t i know about this very thing?

    i do, honey, i do.

     
  6. chris robinson 8.31.2008

    Auguries. Usually there are two days of energy and frenetic activity. I think to myself, forgetting what is coming, “I wish I could be like this always.” Then it comes: pain, nausea, light sensitivity; all followed quickly by dark. Three days of this. A fouth of weakness and fatigue. Then a return to normal. As hard as I try to accept things about myself, this is a cycle, auguries and all, I wish I could outgrow. There is a deeper appreciation of the happy times, true; but it’s not a fair exchange.

     
  7. Punk Rock Dad 9.1.2008

    i get it.

     
  8. Carolyn...Online 9.1.2008

    I love that in the end you let him think you were sad because you might have hurt his feelings. Then he got to somehow let you off the hook.

    must go read more now.

     
  9. anymommy 9.1.2008

    I don’t know enough about you to write something intelligent, but I plan to read more and catch up. Having life overwhelm you at Subway doesn’t sound all that strange to me. I adore the way you describe your son.

     
  10. Jettomatika 9.2.2008

    Thank you, All You Folk.

     
  11. Coelecanth 9.6.2008

    Late to the party again.

    Leaving aside discussion of self-fufilling prophecy and the human tendency to remember hits and for get misses: I totally get this.

    Seems to me that life is full of the potential for radical change, both good and bad, at all times. Sometimes that potential bites down on us a little harder than others is all. If we’re in a good place it feels joyous for lack of a better word. If we’re not doing so well it’s dread-full. The only time I’d really worry about it is if it stopped happening at all. That would mean you’re dead to the possibility of change.

     
  12. This makes me wonder why I bother to write about Rick Sringfield cookies and people that refuse to pull forward at in a fast food drive through. This is what really matters. This is the stuff that I have no ability to put out there, the inner workings. Love it, gorgeous and heartbreaking.

    Also, some people are very sensitive to the world around them in a way that cannot be explained. It is real, and it does not make you mental or crazy or whatever. Just finely tuned.

     

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