#16 An Abstract

*Sometimes, it’s easier than others to write about Glenna. Sometimes it’s torturous to write anything at all. The following is what I was experiencing yesterday after a long day of doing research that probably won’t go anywhere. I suppose this is my despair.

I wish I were brave. I wish I ran towards the fire, stood firm outside, the ambers swirling, the air thick in gray, and face the truth that the fire is burning, and the flames are real. But I don’t.

Instead, I back away, holding within myself the loathing of moving away from the thing. Despising that each retreating step indicates that I am not brave, I cannot be anything now but a coward, and I can only know that because of the distance I accumulate.  

The sun is bright, too bright to face. It streams into my window and blinds me. The warmth of its rays has waned, though its vibrance says differently. I sit, with my eyes closed, with its redness burning into my face, and for a second, I am still. For a second, I am not more or less. I am nothing, just there. Just here.

The sun is falling lower, and soon it will mark another day of me hiding, hiding from the light, the burn, cowering from the truth that I am afraid. And I am waiting, waiting for the cover of dark, spent from backing away, so that I can bury my head in my pillow and dream of something else. So I can wake up again and pretend once again and hope once again that I can be brave somehow.

I wish I were brave. I wish I stood on the edge of the mountain and stared down its purple peaks and sharp ridges, like the healed cuts on a wrist, and understood that the scars mean the mountain was once flat, but it fought to rise, that the pleats of the peaks were purposeful. I wish I believed they are beautiful because of it. But I don’t. I don’t stand and stare. I don’t think the scars are beautiful, not like the mountain is beautiful. I am scared of the scars.

I’m scared a lot. Fear runs me. It runs me ragged. It runs me jagged. It speeds me too fast, too fast for my feet, and too fast for my breath, and I do nothing but let it.

Sometimes I believe that hope will find me, turn me around, point me away from that burning place, guide me down the rockface, and show me a reflection of myself I had always wished was there but didn’t know how to see. Most times, I know better. All times I think I know better.

I lie a lot, to myself, to anyone who might pay attention, that I might know what I know, that I will say what I must, and write with clarity, with brilliance. But it’s only a story. I stop myself before I begin because I’m too frightened not to.

Anxiety is what guides me most. Worry assures me that I know nothing. That I have no audience, and that clarity is the empty glass sitting on my desk, and it is just as elusive to describe as it might be to hold water in cupped hands.

A cough seizes me. A cough of some unknown source and I choke, maybe from invisible smoke somewhere, and my dog jumps and runs away, and I know then that I am real, that I am alive.

But the sun is less bright coming through my window now. Its stream smaller and far less intense than it was seconds ago. The delusion that at the beginning of this insight, that I want to be courageous, that I’m dying to be braver, has vanished almost as the burning sun has begun to set.

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