“How are you doing,” he asked me as we were walking by each other. He asked it with all the inflections of someone who is engaging in cool small talk, with a particular affinity for the Long Island accent. There was no verb after the initial inquisitive “how” and the all too deceiving double vowel ending of “you” was substituted for the first letter of the alphabet, still deceiving because it was produced as a short vowel u. The second verb in the gerund form became two words blended into each other: do and in.
“How ya doin?”
I replied: “Good. How are you?”
I was surprised at my own chipper tone. I’m not well. Not in the least. Arguments from last night have rolled into this morning, bulldozing what I was building up in my head to be a new, good day, and flattening the crux of this pleasant summer day into nothingness, before pummeling the end of the day into a dark oblivion. It’s an alternate world, my world. There is neither a calm before nor after the storm.
This week is predicted to be a stormy one and today was supposed to be the sunny, pleasant Bon Voyage to the weekend. This week, the girth of the storm, will be our calm. That is to say, the upcoming work week will promise a timetable of errands. There, in turn is an unspoken compromise that lends itself to our pantry being stocked with the necessary groceries and having the mailbox emptied of its contents. The idea of not have to expend energy on petty domestic affairs after a long day at work - that’s the calm for us.
Weekends are deviations from my robotic routine and as I’ve mentioned before, are not looked forward to. Weekdays, however, come and go. While I am always appreciative to see time pass, that’s just it. I’m seeing time pass. I’m not living.
Or so I think.
Because as I walk and occasionally catch shade, tilting my neck up and away from my phone screen, I see rabbits hopping away from the intruder, cats glowering all the same, three women conversing at a yard sale, two boys on scooters, cars driving by, leaves rustling, and shadows being cast before again making way for the sun.
I need to escape. I need to look beyond and get away from this routine because while it can be cathartic, it too can be toxic. This is a dilemma. It’s not just that life is complex and quote unquote, shit happens. It’s not just another bump in the road. It’s anything but that.
Shit is hitting the fan and it’s spreading everywhere. It’s the picture in chemistry textbooks that are used to describe diffusion of gas particles or entropy, a state of natural disorder.
My disorder is unnatural. It’s abnormal. It’s one big set of prefixes before words that can stand alone.
The turmoil I find myself in is all on me. My burden has become the burden for one and all, and while I deny my father’s declaration, I will admit to the idea that if I have to suffer - if I have to be reprimanded for going for a walk or not eating this, that, or the other, then it’s only fair that everyone else should be miserable as well. Let them reap that which I am subject to.
That may sound ugly, but it’s how I feel and I cannot hide from it. I believe this is known as bitterness. The other truth is, I don’t find this bitterness sweet. I find this sentiment altogether horrendous, though understandable given the circumstances.
I want this all to end. I want the brief honeymoon period, erected on fake dispositions upon my brother’s homecoming, to last forever instead of ending after a short 4-day span. We were falling back into the sights, sounds, smells, and conversations. A semblance of that which you hope never changes or comes to an end, was making itself known again. But all that had resurfaced just as quickly disappeared.
And I’m trying to escape. I’m walking away and returning. I go back and forth and reprimand myself. I’ve become a prefix and called my father to pick me up so I wouldn’t have to walk back before walking again. I’m mulling over getting a bike instead. At least living will be mandated then- I won’t be staring at my phone and typing this while riding a bike.