“I’m on the edge,” I said as I woke Matt up this morning. “So move over,” he grumbled, half-awake. “No. I mean figuratively.” For there was plenty of room on the mattress for me, but not for the racing blackness of my thoughts. Those threatened to spill over, pooling on the floor, oozing out the front door, following me to work, haunting me as night turned into day.
For the first world problems, they pile up. The more things to do than I could possibly accomplish, the daughter embroiled in her own unhappinesses, blackening the dinner table, the unmailed, unwrapped gifts that will most certainly now be late, the counters that never seem to get wiped down.
The overwhelming urge to sleep through it all, waking in panic at the undone things, the people who are relying on you, the unwise volunteer decisions you made because you think you are essential and awesome and they need you. Then suspecting your volunteerism comes less from some bubbling up desire to help people than from the need to boss people around, to do it my way, to do it the right way. To control.
But it all feels so out of control. And the pictures, they remain unhung, and the walls are only semi-painted after my fall off the stool, and oh man, did I hit the ceiling of Astrid’s room with a whole lot of blue paint and also the outlets and the baseboards too and damn if every mistake doesn’t just slap me in the face. There’s the unfolded basket of laundry that nobody cares about except me, and I can feel every unmatched sock and wrinkled shirt weighing down like stones on my shoulders, mocking my inability to finish one damn thing as the light fades, and darkness descends, as the things go unfinished, and the mind, it races, darkly.
Then the winter program at school. The joy, the pride, the beautiful, beautiful children, growing up, year to year, turning into young men and women, and the staff singing “Wonderful World” at the end, and me, imagining the screams, the bullets wiping out all of our first graders, our principal, several beloved members of our staff, as the fourth graders plow on bravely through their recorder performance of “Jingle Bells”, and the darkness, it falls again.