There was an endless tunnel of suffering, days that broke suddenly with a cruel grey cast, the whole world bathed in shadows and the sticky, fermented smell of deep melancholy that has no purpose. There would be a moment here, an instant there. Silky cat fur, a tiny hand wrapped in a larger hand. The soft snore of a little body finally at rest after a fitful bedtime. These flashes of what regular people call life were to be the fuel that fed the combine that made the consciousness come to the surface every day, ever hopeful. Will it be this day? These slices of light unwilling to be contained by blinds, are these the healing rays of the sun foretold in the articles, the stories, the motivational page-a-day calendars?
Is today the day a tattered hand breaks through the ground at the feet of the goddess, clawing up from the depths my bloody, bruised, filthy and exhausted body behind it?
More often than you might think and still expect to find a living being under the ground, the answer was no. Is no.
A body can, as it turns out, survive for an eternity under there. Under here.
I wish I could write the end of this story: the wrap-up, the witty tie in to the first sentence.
I can only, as the vessel for a being trapped underground, relay to you that this is so common. So integral to the season, to the creative mind, to the whatever excuse makes you feel peaceful about the transitions you witness around you every day. Does that make you feel better or worse, to know that you walk alongside the nearly dead? I believe some of the trapped wish that they could care, although your feelings make no difference to me.
There is a six-year-old child behind me working to top the last outlandish hairstyle she gave me. In this moment, there is only the mirror, the feel of a brush being clumsily yanked through my hair, and an uncontained giggle.