I filled in as much as I dared. During the day I feel right, correct, logical, strong. But at night, now when I should go back to my pages and scenes, I feel so hollow and thin with my thoughts. Like, I’ve hurt my best friend. I suppose I have.
But I describe myself and my children as living in a pumpkin shell — So how am I wrong? We are kept. Kept in limbo. Kept in poverty. Kept in a constant state of stress, fear and worry. Only when I work do I feel a sense of hope. I don’t work enough, clearly.
I feel the need to justify my decisions though my decisions are about self-preservation. What is this guilt? What makes me feel as though I owe everyone? Correction: Not everyone. Just one. Why do I feel like I owe more? For nearly 25 years, I’ve tried to fix, cheer-lead, defend, argue for and against. I’ve tried threats, tough love, and plain ol’ love, yet nothing changes. I never change. Things are the same as they were the first time he threatened to leave me. I cried. I thought he would do it, but it was as empty a threat as his promise to buy a home in Pacific Palisades. I made my choice based on an idea of love and well-described dreams. With collateral of good intentions and braggadocio, I promised forever.
I’ve boxed myself into a terrible situation. I have to find the way out of this box that I helped label, tape and ship too far north.
And yet… Let’s face it. It’s easier to be beholden to another, to do as they bid than it is to better one’s self. The latter takes discipline. The former takes a servant’s fear.
I’m about to get to work now. I needed to talk to you, though I know you are not there. I must work now. It’s the only place that I might be able to free me. I will pour myself a glass of wine and imagine you leaning back like a cowboy in the back of the bar. You, perhaps a character similar to Sam Elliot, thin, easy-going, tall and confident. A wry smile comes over your face as I tell you my stories, my plans. You like them. You finish your beer and study my expressions. You’re on to me. You know my record, my history. You’re no fool. And so, being a good friend, you tell me you hope I follow through — and just like that —Pop! The thought is gone.
I know that I’ve once again succeeded in killing more than time.