Last night I had a very fitful sleep. I kept tossing and turning despite being absolutely exhausted. I woke up in the middle of the night to silence. Until my ears woke up and heard crying. Real crying. Uncontrolled. Muffled only by the floor/ceiling that separated me from my grief-stricken upstairs neighbor.
I can only surmise that her crying is what woke me, and once I got the sound in my head, it was impossible to get it out/stop listening to it/for it. It opened in me a cavernous fear, my youth ricocheting inside it like echoes. My mother would beat me in a rage triggered by some error on my part and then retreat to her room and feel so guilty or angry or disappointed or scared - the cause is still mildly unclear - that she would sob and sob until I went and comforted her.
Upon hearing my upstairs neighbor cry, these thoughts crashed into my consciousness like valuable china in an earthquake:
oh my gosh she's crying
- heart cringe/palpitation -
she's crying pretty hard
what should i do?
what happened? is she ok?
maybe someone died
i should check on her
what if she kills herself?
*should i ring the doorbell? would that be too loud? she might be embarrassed.
what if she is hurt?
what if she hurt herself?
*did he break up with her?
what do i do?
what if she kills herself?
- whole body cringe -
Aside from the starred ones, those were always my thoughts and very real fears when I heard crying from my parents' bedroom. Usually when I went to comfort her, she would be sitting on the floor, her shape made up of soft, broken curves. I would walk over to her and I don't even remember what I would say but pretty soon we would be holding each other and crying.
I remember feeling like we weren't actually comforting each other with our arms but just expressing in the only way that felt genuine how much we couldn't stand our lives. She felt I had ruined her life and I felt she was ruining mine and she felt guilty and I felt guilty but we couldn't stop the ruin because all I did was be born and rebel and all she did was sacrifice everything and blame me for it and basically it was a fire, and what else does a fire do but set other things alight until it has consumed and destroyed completely?
So I realized last night I dislike the sound of muffled crying, especially when I don't know the cause. I woke up this morning exhausted and tense in every muscle. The weather was a gray cliche. But there were no cop cars, flashing lights, stretchers, or anything.
Tonight I hear the tv on upstairs and I hope everything is ok because the next day can be a different day. It does not always have to be the same.
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