Don’t Look

I see you, counting out your pills, to see if you have enough. Checking your calendar so your plan to quietly slip away causes the least fuss, the minimum of inconvenience. Oh, everyone says that it’s so awful when people decide to leave, but you remember — you remember when your friend left.

“Honestly, he’s better off without her. He was a patient, patient man, but I don’t know how he lived with a woman like that.” You heard them whisper. And now you’re a woman like that. You know they’ll forgive you, because you know their secret.

You’ve been so brave, and you’ve faced up to some of the ugly truth about your past. It didn’t fix things like they’d promised. You’ve had a migraine eleven days running and your muscles ache, your bones are on fire. Your cheeks and tongue sting with a thousand bites and your jaw throbs from clenching it tight against yelling, at the top of your lungs: leave me alone.

You whisper it instead.

Looking back threatens to drag you into a pit so deep there will never be light to find your way out. Looking ahead, all you see is more of the same. More pain. More exhaustion. No escape.

So, stop. Close your eyes. Don’t look — don’t look back, don’t try to look forward. One day, one moment, one breath at a time. You can’t believe the impossibility of it, but it won’t always be like this.

(It might be worse.)

Smile at your own horrible gallows humor. There you go; you’re still damn funny, girl.

Don’t look. Just be. Just believe. Believe that someday, life will suck a little less. Someday, you’ll wake up and find that you have something to look forward to. Maybe, just maybe when you wake up from your next nap, you can think — just a little — about what you might like to plan.

If it’s all too scary, listen to your inner child: she knows what to do. Hide away if you need to. The world will wait for you. Pull the covers over your head. Don’t look.

And also, don’t leave.

Because they lied about your friend. She is at peace, yes, but no one is better off without her.