I am making myself write tonight. I don't want to, and I am not feeling it. What I want to do is play X-box 360 Call of Duty, Modern Warfare 2. Escape. Be distracted. Disengage. Be less human, more machine. Feast on visual stimulation, glut on loud noises, simulated explosions, and on-line banter. To feel like I'm doing something, faster, bigger, stronger. All without moving. Or at least without moving more than my thumbs and the small muscles in my eyes. I want to be without being. Alive without living. But I'm gonna' write this bastard out.
A rut, you say? Four years. No, actually five. Sure it is winter and who doesn't have a cold, which makes one feel a little closer to blue than yellow. But for the better part of five years, I've been working on finding space for Grief and Sadness in my life's house. Suddenly five years ago, I met Grief, shook his cold hand, and stuffed him in an old foot locker. I took the trunk to the attic, and that was that. Life goes on, right? Right? I followed the only rules I knew. Tough it out. Suck it up.
Fucking Grief, he sneaks out of the box a few days later and pops up next to me in my car on the Baltimore Beltway. Back in the box, motherfucker. Back into the attic, thank you very much. Perhaps it was okay if Grief was treated like children in the Victorian era, seen but not heard. I could occasionally look stricken, but I didn't let Grief be heard. Occasionally, sure, Grief would pop off the lid and surprise me unexpectedly. In the shower. Raking leaves in the yard. Hugging my daughter. Fucking cretin, get your hands off my family. Back in the box. Get. In. The. BOX.
I had Grief pretty well figured out, six months in. Locked the box. Shoved it deep in the attic. Way away in the darkest corner. Piled it under life's flotsam and jetsam. Sure, when I was home alone, I sometimes heard Grief banging around. But as long as he didn't come downstairs, into the daylight, the sunny-warm light, I could handle a bit of banging around.
So what does Grief do? The bastard finds a friend in Sadness, and damned if the two of 'em don't bust that trunk wide and come rumbling down from the attic. Thunder on the stairs. You should have seen the look on their faces; wide smiles and a gleam in their eyes, as if saying, "Hey, we don't like the attic and it's nice day, so we are STAYING." Mischief makers they are. Like Loki, but not as Dungeons & Dragons.
Or maybe more aptly, like Thing One and Thing Two, just with black stripes on their unitards. Yeah, imagine trying to catch just one of those bastards and getting just one of 'em back into the box, the box laying broken and ruptured? Little manic-happy motherfuckers running all over the damn house, messing up things and getting spots on shit. Like trying to put toothpaste back in the tube, my brother. Like toothpaste.
But like I said, I fall back on what I know. Tough it out. So I chase Grief and Sadness all over the place. The fuckers don't sit still. They hide. They sneak. They run. And they never sleep. Oh sure, I'd grab one by the collar and wrap him up in duct tape, all the while trying to shove him into something I could hide away. Sometimes I get lucky and grab hold of Grief, but when I would, Sadness would hop on my back and pull my hair. So I shaved my head. He'd grab my ears. Frisky little rascals.
So I've given up on the attic. Hey, they don't want to be shut up all the time. Can you really blame them? But they can't have run of the house, either. Little monkeys. So I'm making up twin beds in a spare guest room. They can jump up and down on the beds and tack up their idols on the bedroom walls. But they gotta' follow house rules; early to bed, no whining, and have some manners. And I'm bringing in some new friends for them to play with. "Boys, meet Joy, Silly, Happy, Smiles, and Love. Girls, this is Grief and Sadness. Now, go play."
Okay, that was way better than X-box.