Restless. Like the pounding of the sea in that ancient rhythm. The ebb and flow of my life leaves me wanting more. My soul is itchy beneath my skin, desperate for meaning. I look to menial tasks to make me feel like I’ve accomplished something in a day where my only duty is to answer the phone, answer the email, answer the same question over and over. There’s no logic to it. There’s no real reason to feel this way. And yet, I do. I need to get out. I need to get away. I need to bury my feet in the sand, lift my face to the sun, and purge discontent. I am restless.
Content. Like wrapping hands around a steaming mug of fresh coffee. It spreads its warmth up through my chest, wrapping me in an embrace as familiar as time. I prop my feet up on my husband’s lap, cover us both with the gray-green afghan, and sink into gratification. There’s nowhere to be tonight. No deadlines to meet, no tests to cram for, nothing requiring our immediate attention. Brian rubs lazy circles on my calf with his thumb and my eyelids begin to droop. As the moon rises in the sky, I feel my heart fill with unrestricted, absolute love. I am content.
Listless. Like every muscle has turned to water and any spirit once perceived has now dissipated. Lifeless, limbless, I am so much flotsam on a lazy sea. I have no desire to move, no desire to breathe, no desire at all. I float on an air of laziness. The only energy spent is that of the solitary tear drop that ekes from my eye. Questions bounce around in my brain: When is it my turn? When will life stop being so hard? What did I do wrong? A thunderclap outside and all I can think is finally, the weather will match my mood. I am listless.
Hopeful. Like a gull on the edge of the wind, soaring up, up, up into the blue. I place my hands on my belly and close my eyes, imagining what it will be like to feel life move beneath them one day. In the deepest parts of night, I lie awake, eyes barely focused on the popcorn ceiling, and pretend I can hear her cries for me, wailing through the gloom. I can almost trace the swell of her cheeks, the curve of her elbow, the slope of her nose, as if it were my own face in my mind’s eye. Hair, thick and dark; eyes the color of rain clouds; fingernails minuscule and translucent: I can see her. How I dream for her. How I wish for her. Knowing that she is still within me, somewhere…I am hopeful.
Hurt. Like a child sent to bed without her supper for no reason she can understand. I am bewildered, rejected, discarded like so much trash. I reexamine everything I ever said, everything I ever did, to deserve this treatment. I turn to those I can still trust, those who love me for who and what I am, those who don’t judge me for my misgivings. And still, it is there, in the back of my mind. Each word a weapon, and the silences that are deafening. They seem to go on forever. I’ve wished for a chance to understand. But I do not. I cannot. And I have to stop trying. For my own sake, for yours. I will retreat to my corner now and lick my wounds. Self-preservation is the only avenue I know now. I am hurt.
Optimistic. Like the very knowledge that the storm will eventually blow over. The bits and pieces will be picked up and put back together again. I will find a way to move past the others and be victorious. My life may not be perfect, but my life is my own. I will live it to the fullest, find a way to dull the aches and overcome the pains. I will revel in my love, my family, my friends. I will write and write and write, peeling away a layer each time I hit “publish.” I will laugh too loudly, love too fiercely, and live too largely. I will be okay. I am optimistic.