Bedbuggered

September 29

I woke up that day adrift in a sea of blossoms, pale pink, delicate, silent. Except they didn’t smell like flowers, more like mothballs or dust and then when I leaned over, closer, the blossoms turned out to be scrunched up paper, I barely touched one with a finger that the entire sea shook, shuddered, rustled and it sounded like rain or a child beating on tin sheets, and the papers unfurled, words poured down, catching in my hair, bruising my skin, scratching, tearing.

I woke up one night to find myself standing on a bridge made of playing cards. It was dark all around me so I couldn’t tell if I was surrounded by water or fire or a just a deep abyss. I’m afraid to move because I fear the bridge might collapse so I continue to stand, gingerly, terrified and stuck. I hope the sun rises soon so I can see clearer…

Thoughts can sometimes be like bedbugs. They make you twist and turn and roll around, they yank sleep away just as it starts to settle on you like a film of dust on black furniture, fling it away so hard it curls up in a corner and refuses to come back. So you continue to shift and sift and sigh, muttering and grumbling. When you finally get up and turn on the light, there is no sign of a bedbug but you know it even as you reach for the switch, as soon as it gets dark, the little critters will creep out and make your skin itch.

We move through life fast, taking changes in our stride or at least pretending to. No time to deal with issues, mope, cry or analyze how we feel about old homes, friends, family, emotions, not just because there is a paper to write, daal to make and self-esteem to prop up – it’s because it’s easier to stuff it into the back of your cupboard, under your bed or into a crooked corner. Write it on a piece of paper, scrunch it up and shove it into the background. I lived in a house for 23 years, I lived in a city for 23 years minus four years, I fell in love with red bricks and the way the asphalt felt against my sneakered feet, my mother’s hugs are warmer than any fireplace in Seattle, the comfort of green grass, Earl Grey but in the correct order and combination of sugar, friends and yellow mugs with leaves, the terrace I sat, slept, swam in.

You’d think humans would have adapted to the concept of change by now. It happens all the time, shouldn’t it be easier to deal with, take it in our stride rather than have to pretend to? And then you wake up one day adrift in a sea of blossoms except they’re all pieces of paper with words scribbled on them, smelling of nostalgia and dust. They keep piling up, higher and higher and now it’s a mountain of blossoms, except they’re not flowers, they’re all the things you need to deal with but what about the human behavior test this Friday?

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