Yesterday, I went to sign the attendance register and VP Ma’am said, “These days, your face is glowing. You must be happy. Are you happy?” I said I supposed I was.
It would be hard to explain if I tried to. I am exhausted. I don’t sleep properly—not terribly, but not as much as I need to—and I go home at night and cry and I’m really too tired to do anything. Cooking and eating seem colossally difficult. I wake up in the morning and I cry more. In between all that, yes, I seem to be able to be happy. But at other times I mostly think about death.
C came to talk to me yesterday. I was wandering restlessly around campus. I feel very keyed up these days at school. I don’t want to sit down. I don’t want to stay inside. Deep down somewhere, I wish I could just run and run.
Anyway, she saw me and she came walking slowly in somewhat my direction so that our paths eventually crossed. We came to rest near the stand where they have hung fire buckets and she stood on the stand and fiddled with the buckets.
I don’t think we said anything for a minute. It felt very quiet to stand there with her, not saying anything, and I was aware that I felt afraid. I started to remind myself that she was not going to die. Then I asked her something—I can’t remember what. Maybe what her favourite subject was. And then after a few minutes, two of her friends came and they began to talk.
There seem to be two things on my mind these days: one of them is that everyone isn’t going to die. Not immediately, anyway. Not violently. Not in a way that makes thinking about seeing them tomorrow seem like a gamble.
I am not going to die either. I mean, I could, but the chances of my living a bit longer are quite a lot greater than the chances of my dying. And it changes my sense of perspective. I am not sure how, but it’s a radical change. I’m sorting out the details on that, but I know it’s immense, and it is probably why I am so tired.
The other thought has to do with trust. I stood with C for a few minutes and I was aware of a feeling inside that later I realized was trust. It is not a thought or a belief. It is not a cognition in any way. Something happens in my body and I calm down. I don’t know why this is. It’s possible that the person she reminds me of is someone I had a profound trust in, but I hardly remember anything about her. Still, I know I have not felt this in nearly 30 years.
There have been little flashes of this, little bits, but nothing to this extent, nothing this automatic or easy. I was afraid standing with C, but I was a lot calmer inside that I had been before, and that is why I really noticed the sense of my fear inside me. I was calm enough to feel anything.
I’m aware that the main thing is just that I process the emotions. I need to know what they are, how they feel in my body, what other things they are connected to.
What they seem to be connected to is an idea that trust is not allowed. I am not allowed to calm down. Some part of me is waiting for the girls I trusted to come back because no one else can be relied upon.
And they aren’t coming back.