He has to hide his weed in the tool shed way out in the back of the yard so she doesn’t find out he gets high which would be comical if it wasn’t so ludicrous because he’s gotten high every single night since they met. A fair share of mornings, too, but only if the night before was rough or even if it wasn’t. Life, the relentless everyday grind of it, can be excruciatingly hard to take. It wouldn’t be the smoking that bothered me, though, but the way it makes him go limp in bed.
The rain is coming down so heavy the drops shoot the autumn leaves clean off of their branches like a spray of liquid metal bullets. Watching from an upstairs window, I tug the curtain back and lower my eyes to the road, slick with cold hard shine. A car speeds by about a hundred miles too fast for a residential street and I say a silent prayer he doesn’t mow down some innocent children as they meander home from the school bus. The kids never walk on the sidewalk. They’re never looking where they’re going because they are staring into their little black phones. We fall like leaves, like rain, like tears, in a rattled race toward the indifference of solid ground.
My heart holds a secret longing only the precious melancholy can hear. It’s not that we don’t care about suffering, or that we glorify it, worship it, or even are obsessed with it. We see the agony which is inevitable, which is collective, and we move a tender hand toward it, caressing. We do not deny it and we do not turn away. Alain de Botton refers to melancholy as ‘a noble species of sadness,’ and when I read that I felt like a woman lost and finally found in a thick secluded wood. That someone, anyone, even a stranger, saw my soul and deemed it not correct but worthy. Warm and sweet in its peculiar gloom.
I can be mean when I want to be and sometimes that’s exactly what I want. I want you to hurt as bad as I do so that I am not alone in what is killing me soft as a winter snow suffocates the earth. That’s no way to behave, of course, and I am learning to get better at managing my emotions. I have so many that they can overwhelm the system. As a general rule, people are shit at managing their emotions. We can build vast cities and launch billionaires into space for photo ops, but the hell if we make progress toward empathy or compassion. All the money and all the power and we don’t learn and we don’t learn and we don’t learn and we never fucking learn.
Closing the curtain, I walk to the kitchen and pour the wine. As I swallow it down, it blooms smooth in my chest, blossoms like heated velvet heaven in my blood. For a second my mind drifts to a memory of his fingers in my mouth and the way I melt against them in surrender and calm. Thunder slams the house and shakes through my glass, prickles my skin. I think about the sun and how it is still out there screaming its shine somewhere behind the black out clouds, and I rejoice with every fiber of my bones that it has spared me here.