Tag Archives: quiet

Exist.

“On a scale from one to ten, how bad is it?”

I’ve been watching a lot of Grey’s Anatomy lately. In the show, emergency cases often come into the hospital and the doctors have to figure out how to save the person. Sometimes, those emergencies involved a foreign object going through a person. One time it was a pole someone had been impaled on. Another time it was a big tree branch. These cases are difficult because you can’t just pull the foreign object out, unless you want the patient to bleed to death. Usually, the pole or tree or whatever is holding all of the blood and organs in place, so if you just rip it back out of them, they’ll bleed out.

Lately, I’ve been feeling like watching tv is the foreign object that’s keeping me from bleeding out.

When I’m watching a tv show, I’m distracted. I’m wrapped up in someone else’s life. Lately, when I turn off the tv, sadness overwhelms me. It’s like the silence that follows is too quiet. My mind no longer has something to focus on. And I get really sad. I bleed out. I’d rather just keep watching tv. Unfortunately, I have responsibilities and people to hide my feelings from, so I can’t just stay curled up on the couch all day watching Grey’s Anatomy.

On one of the latest episodes I’ve watched, one of the main characters hasn’t been doing extremely well, and for some very good reasons. Her boyfriend comes and sees she’s having a hard time and simply asks, “On a scale of one to ten, how bad is it?”

On a scale from one to ten, it’s about a seven right now. Maybe a six. Which is better than yesterday. Worse than the day before. Much better from the day before that.

I’m just existing right now. I don’t think I ever thought I’d be a person who just existed. I just won’t pull the tree out. It’ll keep the bleeding under control.

-Melissa

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Seen.

For the most part, the room was quiet. I had timed it perfectly to miss the rush, which was also great because then it didn’t look so weird that I was sitting by myself. I was eating, slowly. Something weighed heavy on my shoulders; my entire body felt tired. I did my best not to think too much.

One of the workers came and wiped down all the empty tables around me. He sang softly as he worked. Normally, that would find a way to annoy me but today I found myself leaning into the sound. Every once and a while he would switch to humming and I found myself wishing he would start to sing again. Wishing I could sit there all day and just listen to him.

He was too quiet for me to hear the words of his song. He was too quiet for me to even hear if he was any good. But he was soothing. And I needed soothing.

I stared out the window, thinking about his voice when someone spoke to me: “Hey. How are you doing today?”

I turned and he was down on a knee, looking up at me, an empty chair between us.

I smiled, politely, though I could feel it didn’t reach my eyes. I felt too heavy. “I’m good.” I replied, “How are you?”

Before I finished, he had interrupted me. He asked if I had just answered ‘good’ because society told me to, or something along those lines.

I hadn’t realized he’d been watching. I probably looked miserable. If I had known I’d be questioned, I would have put on a more socially acceptable face. I smiled again, explaining I hadn’t slept well last night. This was true. I hadn’t. Lies work best when they contain the truth. “I’m just tired,” I reassured him.

We talked for another minute or so. I shocked him by revealing how old I was- four years his senior. He was very clearly surprised. I reassured him again: I’d looked the same since I was fifteen.

“Well, I have to admit something to you,” he said, “I didn’t want to come talk to you.”

Flattering. My thoughts were along the lines of, ‘of course you didn’t. I probably looked like I wanted to kill someone.’

“But I came over because God kept prompting me to.” He went on, saying that, the entire time he was washing the tables, God has been convincing him to come check on me. His voice was still soft like his singing; comforting. “So I was just checking in.”

I thanked him; he didn’t realize how sincere I was in that moment. A real smile lightened my face for a moment as we finally introduced ourselves before he walked away and continued his work.

I could feel tears coming on so I was quick to leave.

‘I don’t need this right now,’ I prayed as I left, ‘I don’t have time to burst into tears in public.’

I explained to God that it didn’t make sense for Him to do that. I made a list of reasons why. He knew I was bad at kindness to begin with. And what if it wasn’t even Him?

But what if it was? What if He was reminding me that, yes, He had heard the prayer I had uttered this morning and He cared about the pain I was in. And He cared so much about the pain I was in that He decided to reach out to me in a way He never had before. What if He hand picked the sweetest soul, someone He knew I would be receptive to, just to remind me that He saw me? What if the pain I imagined carrying around on my back He could see and wanted to let me know that He saw it and He cared?

Because… Well, that does sound like Him after all.

-Melissa

Unseen.

Quietly, I shut the door behind me, the light disappearing as it closed. Silently, I slipped up the steps, hoping this was okay. I had ignored the “authorized personnel only” sign on the door. No one saw me enter and once I was in the balcony, no one below had reason to turn around. I was safe.

One empty chair was there. I grabbed it and began to roll it closer to his, which drew his attention for the first time. Surprise lit his face as he said hello. In typical fashion, he reached for my hand and shook it, doing some handshake I had never been able to catch on to. Then he pulled me closer for a hug and told me it was good to see me. It was good to see him too.

“We’ve missed you.”

I just smiled.

If he had said, “I’ve missed you,” I would have been able to respond that I missed him too. That I wish I could see him more. But he said “we” and I didn’t know who “we” was and I couldn’t say anything polite back while still being truthful. So I just smiled.

If I missed the “we” I assume he was talking about, I wouldn’t have had to sneak up to this vantage point. I could have walked in like a normal person and sat on the ground level in the chairs with all the normal people. But I knew they would be among the normal people, and so I couldn’t.

He was the only one of them I felt comfortable around. The one who had treated me kindly. More than that. He treated me like I had value. He saw beyond what he could get from me and saw into who I was. And not only did he see that, but he accepted that. He accepted me for who I was. He still does. And I can smile and laugh and talk with him without faking everything. He saw me in a world where I had been glanced over. A world in which, if I was seen, it was only to look briefly down on me, as if I was some annoyance to remove. Not worth the time they were forced to devote to me.

Before the show had ended, I felt the need to get out before anyone saw me. I leaned over and whispered that I had to go and he hugged me again. I told him it was good to see him and he told me it was good to see me too. He said, “Come back again” and without thinking, I replied with a simple, “I will.”

And maybe I will. But only when it’s safe. And when there are a couple of people wondering around him that are not safe, I can’t make any guarantees.

I slipped back down the stairs and out the door. Through the lobby, quickly, without even a glance around and made my way outside. As I made it through the double doors unseen, the fresh air hit me and I took a few steps before my air threatened to leave me. I stood still, trying to breathe, a relief at being out running through me and pulling tears to my eyes. I stood for a good moment like that, trying to not let sadness and hurt and disappointment and death and sweet relief overwhelm me.

They sure did do a number on me, didn’t they?

Remember the entry where I wrote about having to leave good things behind when you left bad things? He’s one of the good things. And it sucks having to leave those good things behind.

But I can’t face the bad things.

-Melissa

Space.

I have no motivation. To do anything. I sat down and worked all day yesterday and, you know what? I don’t think I got anything done. I also… I don’t know if I have anything to do. I have a ton of reading to do but I just can’t get myself to do it. I started reading one of my main text books and then realized my teacher would teach all of this…Why would I read it when I know I won’t retain it?

No worries, I’ll try again in a few minutes.

After this past week, I think I’m just bothered by busyness. I feel a bit thrown off just because my schedule was really weird this week. But also because I still feel like I’m not used to my schedule this semester, which is also weird. Maybe it’s just because this semester is so different from all of my past ones.

Last weekend was great. I literally just did homework for two days. And I remember thinking that being by myself for so long gave me the.. space I needed. I felt really good about it. But now I think maybe I just felt good because I got so much accomplished.

I’ve been by myself all of this weekend too but it feels different. As I said, I barely got anything done yesterday, mainly because I don’t understand an assignment I really want to get done. I’m going to meet my teacher about it so I don’t go insane so hopefully that will help. I just… I really want time where I don’t feel like I have to be doing something.

It’s not that I never hang out with my friends or anything. But, when we do hang out, they’re… very active people. Even when we’re together, we’re trying to get things accomplished- usually games. Like, how many games can we play before the night’s over? Which is great! It’s really fun. But… I miss just being with people. With no priorities. With space to just be. And I’m really okay with my new friend group- I actually like them a lot. I just… I guess I just miss familiarity a little bit.

I guess this is what I signed up for so I shouldn’t complain. I just wish there weren’t always deadlines looming somewhere over my head. If it was like that I probably would get really lazy really fast so maybe it’s better that they’re there. And I guess I don’t have to do my reading- no one else seems to. But then I would feel guilty. Plus, it’s hard enough for me to know what’s going on in class.

This is such a bad post. It literally says nothing and it portrays that I’m in a bad mood, which I’m not at all. I’m just putting off homework. So I’m sorry about that. But also, thanks for reading all the way to this point. That was very good of you.

Hope you have a good day. Ignore your deadlines for a while. Someone has to.

-Melissa

Missing you.

I couldn’t find the vanilla.

I knew exactly where it should be. I’d been down the baking isle three times. I wondered from it, up and down every isle now because clearly it had to be here somewhere.

A song came on the radio. The familiarity struck me even before I realized what it was. It was late enough that most people were in their homes instead of grocery shopping so the store felt peaceful. I sang the song softly as I wondered around. What had I been looking for?

Did you still listen to this band? Hmm. I never would have heard of them if not for you. I found myself looking for a drink you once got here that I’d never been able to find since.

Where would I be….How different would my life be…. If you were still in it?

I squeezed my eyes shut for just a moment and tried to picture calling you right then if nothing between us had ever gone wrong. Because I wanted so badly- I want so badly- to talk to you. And not to rehash anything or figure out what happened. Just to talk. Just to hear your perspective. Just to hear you. Just because I miss you.

Yes, even still.

But I couldn’t picture what my life would be like now if our friendship would have lasted. I can’t imagine it. It’s taken so many unexpected turns since I knew you. I don’t know if they would have been effected by your presence in my life somehow or not. I just don’t know.

But I do know it sure would have been nice to call you today and here your voice… I so much hate that…. it seems like a foreign concept now. I’ve… I’ve lost pieces of you as time has gone on. I so much wish I had never had to. But I… the person you knew no longer exists and the only memories I have of you… well, they’re actually hers.

The way you cared about me wasn’t fair, you know. The way you saw me wasn’t fair. It didn’t make sense. You shouldn’t have been so good to me. You shouldn’t have been so in tune with me.

Because now I miss you quite terribly.

And then the song ended. Something much friendlier came softly through the speakers above me, like the other song had never played. And no one noticed the change. No one felt like something so, so, so good had been cut way too short. No one felt an emptiness in it’s absence.

Except me, of course.

Now….where was the vanilla?

Missing you.

-Melissa

Missing you.

Someone asked me the other day how I ever could have been friends with you.

For once, I tried to put myself in his shoes. Really, in their shoes. Because I know he wasn’t the only one. I knew how… hard you could be. I knew, vaguely, how other people saw you.

And I listened as he tried to explain why it never made sense that you and I were friends. How it never made sense to anyone. He said the same about another one of my friends too. Honestly, he doesn’t see much clearly. But I understand what he was saying. I mean… sort of. I understand what he thought he saw.

But that’s just the thing. He didn’t see you. He thought he did.

But he didn’t see the first time you spoke to me. I sat there quietly, just like I always do, and you made conversation with me. You know, I don’t remember the moment I first meet someone. Most of the time, you just wake up one day and you’re friends with someone and you can’t remember the moment it started. But I remember you. Because I could tell you…saw me. Do you know how rarely that happens?

He also didn’t see the time I had to deal with a death surrounded by people I barely knew. You were the only person here that I could tell. He didn’t see the way your face fell when I told you. You had no reason for your face to fall. You didn’t know them. But you let yourself feel my pain.

He thought he saw you. And maybe he did. But it wasn’t the real you. It was the hard you. The you others couldn’t see past. The you people were afraid of. Who pushed people away. Who constantly built up your walls, higher and higher. But he didn’t see that crack in your walls. Just barely big enough to let a grain of sand get through. And I got through.

I just… I didn’t know how many layers of walls there were. Not that that would have changed anything. Okay. Maybe it would have. Because I do hope I would have fought a hell of a lot harder than I did at the end.

What terrifies me now is that I know you’ve pushed me out. And you repaired that crack in that one wall. And your walls got higher. Stronger. And I’m… terrified you won’t let any one else find another crack. I’m afraid you’ve repaired them all so perfectly that no one else will even be able to think about getting through to you. I’m afraid you wake up every morning and take a walk around the wall, a bucket of mortar in your hand, and fill all the cracks, even add another layer of cement where you think it might be weak. And then, when you get a chance, you go out an buy a few more bricks and make the wall thicker and taller. And it’s just this ongoing process where you make sure that no one sees you.

Which… I don’t even think you see you. Actually, I know you don’t. Because you choose to see the you other people see in you.

Ha.

Not me. Other people.

Because you never believed any of what I told you.

Oh, what did I tell him? When he asked why I had ever been friends with you?

I told him he never saw the you that I did. He didn’t see the way you talked to me. The way you cared for me. The way you were literally there for me whenever I needed you. I told him about the time when, at four in the morning, you were begging me to come outside to talk because you knew how badly I felt. Because you knew how much pain I was in and you knew I needed to talk about it.

I told him he didn’t actually see you.

Missing you.

-Melissa

Masks.

Listening to the speaker, I didn’t move. I didn’t fidget. I didn’t flinch as he described me perfectly. No one around me knew that I had every one if the “symptoms” he was describing.

I wondered if anyone around me was doing the same thing. Just pretending this was another message that they probably wouldn’t remember an hour from now. Just pretending that he wasn’t hitting close to home. Just pretending that this had nothing to do with them.

But I couldn’t have been the only one. I knew I wasn’t. I could tell by the way he had completely captivated his audience. Everyone was fixed on him. Everyone afraid to move and give themselves away, just like I was. Everyone afraid that if they moved, he would know. He would see right through their perfectly held facade- the one he was describing.

He prayed we wouldn’t just walk away and put our masks back on.

But we did.

-Melissa