Remember in star wars how Princess Leia (I think that's who it was) is trapped inside a room and the walls start to slowly close in, threatening to crush her? That's how it feels, like there is no way out. No escape button. It's either i'm in or I'm out. For me there's nothing in between.
I'm trying to remember how Princess Leia got out, not that I think it's going to apply, but for the life of me I can't remember.
I woke up from a dream this morning in which my older brother was screaming, calling out to me as I came in the door and I found him on the floor of the living room.
"Rachel! It's bad. I hurt my foot".
I took one look and knew it was badly broken. I woke up shaken by it, as if someone had died in the dream. I was afraid it was a premonition of some kind and I couldn't fall back asleep. I had to call to check on him. He was fine.
Later when I told my mother about it she said, "See? It means you're family-minded and that you'll take care of us". The weight on my chest settled even deeper. I wished I hadn't said anything. I don't need any more to carry around. I've only just started to come out from under it, but of course that's how she'd shape it. It's what she does, which shouldn't surprise me. I guess I don't know why you would try to squeeze so much out of your own children? The ones you love?
This isn't going very well. I can't keep blaming it on the hormones. They've surged and waned already. I could say it's the shiftwork. I can't really tell night from day anymore, like I'm permanently jet lagged. I'm wide awake and it's 2 AM. Perhaps the ativan I just washed down with the left-over wine will help. I can't be up all night because I'm switching back to days. That's what my schedule is; two twelve hour days, and two twelve hour nights.
So yes, maybe that's part of it, but the truth I'm afraid to admit is that maybe 'it' is part of me. All I know is that I have a line-up of phone calls that I have to return, but I can't see myself having these conversations over and over so I screen the calls and don't return messages. The more I have, oddly, the more I feel like a failure. They serve as a reminder of my inabilities to function normally in this world. If I was a glass half full kinda girl I'd count my lucky stars I have so many friends, but they only want to hear what they expect I'll say.
"Yes, I like my job. I'm learning a lot. It's a challenge, but it's exactly what I want."
I guess that's partly true, but everything is not fine. No one wants to hear that. They only ask questions they think they already know the answer to. I'm tired of lying.
Harry just left my apartment. He's sleeping with a 21 year old, you know. Still, when he tells me I look beautiful I know he means it. It's always after he's gone that I think about the ways things could be different. There are so many times he's set it up for me with such precision, but it's like I'm dead in those moments, deadened by fear of I don't know what, and it's always too late.
So yesterday I asked my shrink if there'd been any pharmaceutical breakthroughs for people like me and he just smiled, the warmest most honest smile I've ever seen.
"I know. It's not pills I need", I answer for him. "It's living. A life"
He raised his eyebrows.
"Don't worry", I told him. "I'm willing to give this life a chance, at least for a few more years. But after that I make no promises".