The Verge

I’m on the cusp of bigger and better things, but today I’m losing my mind.

Perhaps it’s been coming on for weeks or days. Change, isolation, alienation, waiting, hoping.

My mind and body become a rush of reaction, of inarticulate, overwhelming emotion. The tears and pain and earthquaking heart push me outside, away from quiet, searching for somewhere else. Somewhere anonymous.

Down the busy street. Where to go? Union Square is too close. Yerba Buena, maybe. No, not far enough. Not far enough.

I walk fast, feet and legs pounding, hands shoved in my sweatshirt pockets, my face a dynamic, contorting inhale and exhale as wave after wave of pain rush in and out.

I flee underground, hop a subway just arriving, take it north. I walk and walk, throat closing and unclosing. 

There is no more logic in it. Now it’s just tears. Just raw pressure compulsively spilling out in wave after wave. The culmination of trying to keep it all together for too long. Trying to be brave, to control and contain everything in me that is weak and problematic and troubling. Terrified of becoming a warning sign while I still wait, sore and fragile, to feel human again.

Lorikeets bab and squeak in the trees above the park on the waterfront, and my emotions only magnify. More memories, of loved ones separated, of my own aloneness here on the edge of bigger and better things.

I walk out to the water down Pier 7, find a lonely bench on the uneven windblown boards. I plant myself there, rubbing at my leaking eyes with the sleeve of my sweatshirt. Letting it out slowly, so as not to crumble beneath its weight.

I stare at the water, at the ferry across the way, the bay bridge. A big white gull with well-kept feathers and greedy eyes sits on the railing a few steps down. Sometimes it cracks open its yellow bill and yawps at me, and I wonder if it knows. If it can sense the pain. If maybe it’s trying to comfort me, or is telling me to stop.

The bell on a fishing pole jingles endlessly in the wind and surf across the way. Its owner in a white plastic rain suit ventures over to my side of the pier. He looks into my eyes a moment, then saunters back to his effects.

Mostly, people leave me alone, and I’m was glad for it. 

When I finally muster my voice, I get up and employ my cellphone, letting any and all words speak as I trudge my way up hundreds of steps to Telegraph Hill. The sun is setting as I climb up and up, through forest and behind back porches, and I feel safe as I climb, out of breath but still talking.

There is a small water fountain at the top of Telegraph Hill, and its presence feels significant, somehow. I feel seen in that moment, in the cool rush of water, in the garbled voices but present hearts of my dearest friends, in the sun setting over the expanse of San Francisco.

I feel emptied and filled, then. At peace again, on the verge of bigger and better things.

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A/N: Some prose about emotions. They’re hard and messy and inconvenient but sometimes you just gotta let your body do what it’s gotta do…

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