These are strange times. Everything I’ve thought to write seems beside the point.
To say I dislike uncertainty seems silly. Few of us do. Some people say they do, but I tend think they mean uncertainty within reason.
Some people shrug and say they’ve been working from home for years and nothing much has changed. Well, even though I’m working from home for the first time, other changes aren’t that dramatic here since we’re homebodies anyway. But what has changed is my feelings about the future and the future my son will have and the country I will grow old in. I’m sad about a lot of it, but I’m also sad at the idea that nothing will change. That everything will just be as it ever was.
Maybe it’s a bit like those hellish days after my mom died. Nothing changed and everything changed. I’d be going about my usual routine, classes, cafeteria, work, and I’d wonder how the world could be the same when I was so shattered? Some days the routine brought comfort. Other days it enraged. DON’T YOU KNOW MY MOTHER IS DEAD, PEOPLE?
I’ve never been much of a spontaneous person. In fact, sometimes I read spoilers before I watch a film, especially if it’s a scary film. I read every spoiler before seeing The Witch. That’s the only way I’d agree to see it.
I hate not knowing what to expect. When I’m reading a novel and the author tosses in a line like “Years later when she’d look back at this time…” I am so relieved. Thank goodness. This person isn’t going to die. Whew.
Ultimately every day is a surprise, right? You never truly know what is going to happen. You may have yet another day of the usual routine, but sometimes fate comes crashing through the walls and there you go. We have the illusion that we know what’s going to happen. We schedule. We buy planners or download apps. We make resolutions and promises, and we have to do those or go mad. I’m not a big fan of that saying, “Live every day as if it were your last.” Holy smokes, what a mess I’d be. Planning and expecting tomorrow are good things. Yet sometimes we just have to stay in today, this moment, this space. It may be very zen. It may be fog with sounds of a monster just out of sight.
Or maybe the monster is in the room. I’m deeply sorry if it is.
This time keeps reminding me of the years my dad was married to his second wife. It’s a convoluted story and I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s with me a lot these days. The gist of it is how my step-mother and step-sister would vanish for a few months and then return. I was never given a warning nor an explanation. I’d come home from school and poof! They were gone. Furniture was gone. Gifts. Sudden empty spaces. No note (not that I ever saw anyway). My dad would not explain it. “Dad, where are J— and N—?” “What do you want for dinner,” came the reply. And then two or three months later, without warning they’d be back. The empty space now had their things again. And J— and N— would be there. And no one explained anything. Through 4th, 5th, and 6th grades. Here. Then gone. Back. Then gone. There. And then not there. Although once, when they were gone, my dad announced we were going to go see them. I was shocked and worried. I’d have thrown myself on the ground and screamed if it had done any good. And I’d stopped asking questions at this point. So, they were maybe a ten minute drive away. It was weird and that’s another story.
I loved the weeks when they were gone. I worked very hard to keep the house nice as if this would somehow keep them away. I read books and sat at the lake and watched TV. After a few weeks, I’d start to get anxious. I’d start looking for them to show up. Would I walk in after school and find them there? Today? What about now? This afternoon? Was that her car turning into the driveway?
Suffice it to say, I have a deep dislike of the unexpected. It is, as we now say, triggering.
These times are strange because the days are the same and yet on the edge of the unexpected. I feel like I’m on the endless walk from the bus stop and when come around the curve in the road J—‘s car is going to be in the drive and all my peaceful walls are going to be obliterated.
That may not make much sense, but I’ve not come up with anything very clever. It’s hard to focus. Hard to sleep. If there were spoilers available for how this is all going to work out, I’d read them in a heartbeat. Spoilers now, please. Gimme.
Hope you’re safe. Hope you’re well.
Thanks for reading.