It comes on so fast, and I am beaten before the gun even goes off; there is no readied startle, no uncoiling, no explosive start.
I am having coffee. Coffee is not my focus, not ever. It is always an aside to whatever else I’m doing, gentle punctuation on a task, a sitting with someone, a get-up-and-let’s-go. Sometimes I drink it not because I want it, but because it makes me feel secure and capable and adult. Professionals drink coffee, don’t they? People who know what the fuck they are doing drink coffee.
I am having coffee and the sun is streaming in the windows. I was so proud to have these windows when they were first given to me, to have the ample natural light and the gaze of nature on my bent head as I sanded and hammered and painted and set my mouth just so as I was coaxing something into existence from a pile of throwaway things. I have a broad expanse of white workspace secured to the wall below the windows and I can look up as I bite my lip, as I focus and hum something old and familiar that pulls at me deeply, to see the tops of the trees I am floating amongst. I can survey the kingdom all the way to the street. It is a terrific view. I’m still proud of these windows.
I am having coffee and the sun is streaming in the windows and my work table is piled over with things crying out to be other things. Perched on the edge of my chair, I’m securing one something to another something, pausing to look with a stranger’s eyes, pushing, adjusting, clamping the things together because they’ll live this way from now on. (Although. Sometimes it occurs to me, you know? It occurs to me that one day this thing might be just another throwaway thing and then maybe the things I put together will fly apart and parts will be discarded while other parts give rise to something else.) I tilt my head, set the new thing down. It’s a process and I can only do so many things at once: There are constraints to alchemy. I begin something else and my chest explodes.
I am having coffee. The sun is streaming in the windows. The work table is ample with materials. They want to be other things, things other than what they are. My chest explodes. Who the fuck am I and how is it that I have a right to be here? It would be better without me, it would be easier to be gone, I am blindsided with worthlessness and anxiousness and why did this start, when did this start, I used to have the answers, oh no.
Oh no, oh no.
What then, when your whole life is scripted as apology? I’m sorry I’m here. I’m sorry I did it wrong. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to. I’m tired of misunderstanding. How is it that I am so often misunderstood when I put everything I have into being absolutely plainspoken? How do I stop being hostage to the hearts of others? My own heart is far afield. It’s rebellious as fuck and will not come to me when I call it back. My chest has exploded and my heart is running away from me and I curse the day that I ever thought that to let it be seen was a wise thing.
It comes on so fast. I am crumpled at the gate. It opens. It opens and I am never ready.