What if I said I had nothing? That when I flip open my laptop and click the button, my head is empty. That when the screen blinks and the hard drive hums, there isn’t a single thought worthy of repeating. That any time I attempt to fill the whiteness of the monitor with words, I end up tapping the backspace button. I write about Olivia with her pink crocs on the wrong feet and how she only wears her purple butterfly sunglasses upside down. Delete. I write about Anders locking himself in the bathroom at the park and Leslie negotiating the door, screaming instructions about a button and a handle. Delete. I write about my plans to attend a blogirl conference and my random luck of landing a silly cool writer as my roommate. Delete. I write. I delete. With my hand curled into a fist and a sole finger extended, I erase one letter at a time. And I am back to nothing.
Or maybe it isn’t a moment of nothing but a stretch of too much something. Maybe there are thoughts in my head. Just more than I can manage. They collide and bounce and slam against each other as they fight for relevance. Maybe everything is just confused. Clutter that lacks meaning or has meaning but I’m too scattered to decipher it all. Maybe there are wants and needs and all I’m doing is trying to keep it even. Because if one thing stands out something else will be shadowed. And I have no fucking idea what should be front and center and what should be waiting in the wings.
I fill my time with distractions. Bess joined me for dinner at Tinto. John suggested a morning workout at Valley Green. Leslie took me shopping. Elyssa, Caralyn, Samantha, Hope, Carol, Theresa and Joe have left messages motivated by the obvious. And they all politely sidestepped the actual words. They know that being vague lets me keep it at a safe distance. Because I’m not alone in what I’m going through. They’ve been there. Everyone has been where I am. I know that. So I sampled the beef and lobster skewers with Bess. I pedaled the earthen terrain next to John. I slipped in and out of clothes in a communal fitting room with Leslie looking on. And I still have nothing.
Wait. I’m wrong. I do have something - I have a different pattern to my days. I now get up at six. Awake. Not groggy or begging for more time to remain horizontal. I turn off the alarm clock a good two hours before it is set to signal. I get up. I pee. I brush my teeth while staring at my reflection in the mirror. I pull on lycra, I lace my sneakers and I get on my treadmill. I sweat, I pant and I pay attention to the television. After I shower and dress, I go to work. I get in early. Earlier than I ever arrived before. And then I force down some yogurt. It clashes with the sour taste lingering in my mouth. But I eat it. Because I’ve already lost eight pounds and I know it’s for all of the wrong reasons. When I stood naked on the scale this morning, I cried. Not because I was happy to see the dial settle in at a lower number but because I got to that lower number for a reason I hate.
The one thing that hasn’t changed is my dislike of gray. That middle color that blends crisp white with haunting black. We still talk. We still send messages. I lock up my feelings. I try to fix it all. If I do this will it help? Will it help him? Will it hurt me? Do any of my predictions matter in the end? I look for meaning where there isn’t any. My jaw tenses, my heart races and my throat tightens. I still have nothing. Or not nothing. I have the opposite of nothing. Although it isn’t that I have everything. I had everything before. Now I have a pile of everything after it pours out the other side of a shredder. And I’m sprawled on the floor with some scotch tape and my patience and my urge to piece it back together. I have a corner repaired. And a middle part that I put together. I know he taped some back too. But the rest, everything else strewn across the floor is a tumble of pieces.
So I guess I’m wrong. I don’t have nothing. I have a whole lot of something. Just not sure what to do with it all.