Wednesday, January 30, 2008

a person could develop a cough

Greetings from the underworld. You know, I could put on a cheerful facade. I do it every day, but really, that's just a protective measure. When you're in the darkness and you want to stay there, the most foolish thing you can do is call up a friend and explain, "I'm sorry I haven't been in touch, but I've been sitting inside without the lights on." You know just what will happen next. They will proceed to harangue you for doing this. They will ask whether you forgot to pay the electricity bill, they will tell you to buy a new light bulb, they will tell you to turn on the switch. They will explain to you that you need the light to read, to see yourself, to find your way around. They will chide you for needing to be told all of this in the first place.

You don't tell people you're in the darkness unless you're just about ready to come out. W noted recently that darkness is a luxury. That is not unfair. But the fact that darkness is a luxury is just cause for more darkness, sometimes. Other times, that fact is a breath of relief, an exhale of thank god I didn't go down that path or I would have ruined everything.

Anyway, now I am sick. Not seriously sick, like some, but sick nonetheless. Up until now, what I'd been doing to cope with the darkness was to work hard, harder, hardest, until my eyeballs hurt and my brain felt like it had been purged of all information not pertinent to my studies. But this cough, persistent and nagging, this simple little nuisance has succeeded in chipping away at this one sphere of control.

I am in chaos again but it's not wrong. I know that. What was wrong was being foolish enough to think I could turn myself into a robot. I'd been behaving like an android because it was a way to keep afloat. Only someone who can snap into this kind of trance has the luxury of such stretches of darkness. In the past, when plunging to such lows, this was always my trick. Outwardly, I always became something of a machine. Misery always did wonders for my grades, my work, my whatever else.

The chaos, the cough, though, foiled that plan. It's hard to explain, but the cough is the beginning of something else. I can feel it rattling around in my chest, uncomfortably tickling my throat. The cough is laughing at me. Fool, bugs always win.

I'm studying microbiology at the moment, so I know the cough is right. But it's right about more than that. Bugs always win. The body is not static, is not beyond insult. Life happens. Reality always wins out over these imagined wars. Reality is a different kind of daily battle, more noble, if less cinematic. And for all the times I've called reality bleak, I have to admit this-- it's much brighter than the darkness in which I've been floating.

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