Every morning I put myself together with duct tape and fear. I double and triple-wrap to hide the black hole in the center of my chest. Some days it holds. Most days it won’t. Under the tape I’m empty and formless, a squirming hogpile of failures.
Everything hurts. The thought of forming a sentence hurts. Talking to a stranger hurts. Emailing a friend. Walking the dog.
I crawl back to the bunker to dress my wounds. I flip on the television to drown out the voices in my head. I pet the chihuahua to prove to myself that I’m still capable of love. I rearrange the stacks of duct tape I’ll need in the morning.
I’ve been masticated by life.
Chewed up by the gods of marriage and money and spit out from the stupid, beautiful city that I called home for 18 years.
I’ve crash-landed a few worlds away, in a town called, ironically, Oakland. A stone’s throw from Interstate 5, in an Oregon valley of ranches and moss-covered oaks. Population 927.
As I type there are frogs singing and a sheep crying from across the road.
On the table in the center of the mother-in-law’s apartment I currently call home there is a stack of papers; a new bank account, old bills from my previous life, and a Petition for Divorce sent to me by my husband’s lawyer.
I came here with nothing more than a few boxes of books and a chihuahua named Agnes. I live on the generosity of a cousin I’ve only just begun to know.
I lost touch from you, stuck in ice, spinning slowly out here in space, in a bunker that protected me from people and suicidal ideations. After two years of weekly appointments with my Ground Control I realized the bunker was to protect others from my rage.
I’m lost and broken and broken-hearted and the chihuahua has wandered away from me, drawn inexorably to the neighbor’s chicken coop. In a minute I’ll carry her back to this bunker and settle in for the night. Hello, good-night.