J had a freezer full of goose breast riddled with shot. His family owned property on ——- with a duck blind against the water, where the menfolk, clad in camouflage, would sit on brisk fall mornings, guns poised. He showed me the blind that first summer, took my hand and led me through a tunnel of cornstalks gone brown. We sat close on the austere bench, hidden behind grass that had become hoarse with whispering over the years. I am sure he kissed me in that humid July air because we did a lot of that then, sweet lingering kisses in between fights and sarcasm.
So started the post (“Shoot him ‘fore he run now,” long excised from the blog) from almost 9 years ago, in the melodramatic, melancholic early days of wts, my writing permeated with a cloying nostalgia for the even more melodramatic, melancholic days of my early adulthood. Both eras ran on pure heat, one in action, the other in imagination.
The post, a post-mortem of my relationship with J, was in part about a night when I grabbed an unloaded shotgun and threatened to use it on myself. Obviously, I survived that night (and other serious flirtations with suicidal thoughts). These days I remind myself that hopelessness is generally temporary. Life is a gift. And I’ve become almost a caricature of even-temperedness. Over-emotionality and self-destruction have done a slow fade, elbowed out by sensibility and acceptance. When did I suddenly became so reasonable, so stereotypically middle-aged? This quote, the last paragraph of the piece, feels like something written about another person entirely, someone unfamiliar:
I’m sure he chalked the night up to my overgrown sense of drama, another mark against me to go with my unfaithfulness and love of alcohol. Thank god I’ve tossed aside those crutches for the most part, though I miss the drama sometimes. Drama sparks up the night, shines a little light into the abyss. Without it, you have only darkness, have to bravely perch on the edge until the abyss slowly creeps away. And that’s where I seem to be right now for reasons that are unclear to me, dirging it out until the fog lifts.
Ah yes, that person. Clinically depressed, though she did not know it, isolated and itching for a fight, for bit of bruising on sensitive flesh. Since then and now, I went to school. I got a job. I started antidepressants and stopped antidepressants. I eliminated alcohol. I stopped taking over-the-counter sleep medication. I eat sensibly and keep my feelings in check. I’m good. I’m fine. I’m healthy in my body and my mind.
But I wake up before 5am almost every day a little restless.