Thursday, September 24, 2015


Depression. You see it in the media all the time. We’ve all come to learn the signs. Darkened rooms, the cold light of the television on staring faces, eating pints of ice cream, occasionally singing with woeful songs, and perhaps crying along with the lyrics. Mattresses on the floor in corners, the sun shining in. Too long without food, and perhaps crying over the cathartic drag of serrated blade through skin. We see these things in movies, or on television, and we know— oh, they’re depressed. 

For me, it is different. I didn't even recognize it at first. It’s a thousand breaths condensed into one that gathers any awareness— or rather, two incomplete halves. Inhale, as I settle into the chair by the window, book in front of me, cat purring under one limp hand. Sunlight slides slowly across the sunny yellow of the wall, dragging the shadows of leaves in a slow, natural compass from gauzy golden curtain to spring green crown moulding. 

Exhale and stand again, legs numb, mouth parched, thoughts hidden behind panels of opaque obsidian glass. Turn and walk it off—hobble it off, for the solid lance of pain that remains embedded hot and cruel in my knee. I am dimly aware, as I wash my hands in a sink that grows grimier day by inattentive day, that there were moments. I let the dogs out to add another layer of excrement to the steady accumulation that marks the passage of otherwise untracked time. I let them in again; at least twice. The cats must have been fed, or they would have come to press their faces to mine and cup my cheek in a paw. There is water in the animals’ bowls. Someone has done these things, but the only automaton to blame is myself. 

The hall is short. I don’t remember passing through it, but I’m in bed. It’s on a frame under a window—a theme in my life, if you could not tell— and I am staring up at the silhouettes of leaves against the brilliant silver of the heavy moon above. There is a part of me that acknowledges that this is pretty, and I am aware of this without actually seeing that it is pretty. 

Still, there are moments that get through. Gasping breath. Flutters. My eyes are open, and I am trembling. Your body is long and lean in the dappled moonlight that illuminates each dimple and curve as it spills across the piercing at one nipple, the soft, smooth descent to navel and hips. The shadow of the windowsill cuts across the top of your pubic hair, but my mind sees it dark and curly, leading to the half-hard, arching swell of your cock. My own is throbbing in my pulling, twisting hand. And it feels good, and you’re smiling at me, and I’m staring. Staring hard at your eyes which I can see so clearly despite the dark— except the heat is chasing its own tail. 

I grow numb to my own touch, raw and chafing, almost painful. My arm is tired. My thighs ache. My ass threatens to cramp. I sag, my grip easing, my arm falling still as I shut my eyes. You’re gone when I open them, and that is the moment that gets through. That steps over and around and under the wall about my existence to grab me and shake me by my senses, so that in an instant I am caught up in feeling. Miserable, awful, poignant feeling—and I do not even recognize the sound that has wrenched itself from my unwilling lips. 

The echo of it dies in the dark of the room. I’ve rolled over without realizing it, my back to the side of the bed that has been cool for years. I think perhaps I should change my sheets, as the smell has begun to offend my nose. I do not decide that it is too much effort. It simply is. I’m aware that my face is damp from where I’ve wept without realizing it. I draw a stilling breath against the steady ebbing of heat through my belly, and pass again into the darkness of drugged sleep. 

A dog wakes me up with her nose to my dangling leg. I walk to the back door and let her out. I sit at the table by the window where my book is waiting, its pale pages hopeful in their exposure to the ceiling. A cat settles to my lap and purrs. My hand splays in fur, mustering a moment of energy, and then coils again with the disregard of forgotten intentions. I inhale—and exhale hours later into the darkness. 

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