56: Silence – Looming

Dear God, please bring me some distraction, something that can draw my awareness away from this insistent, heavy, despair. I had one friend I could talk to, and she has gone now, so I am bereft of guidance, support, and even the rhythms of everyday life are ended now. So I sit hunched in my ramshackle hut whilst the storm rages, as still, as still as I can. I am waiting, waiting, but I do not know why, or what I am waiting for. For help, perhaps, for the distraction that I crave, for the storm to end. But I cannot even picture that new day, when the gentle waves will lap upon a quieter shore, and the sun will shine down and warm the wet shingle, and I will leave this little hut to venture out for new things, a sight I have not seen before, a fruit I have not tasted. I write these words, yet there is no picture for me of what they describe. They are as yet a foreign tongue that I do not know, and they will not divulge their mean­ing, like hard words, they adhere stubbornly to the page and will not affect the workings of my mind, they will not awaken the new thoughts that I would like to have.

This despair, then, is a static thing, a thing that holds down and restricts all possibilities, that de­nies the possibility of change. But I do strain against it, I do. I am not some fool who lies supine under his assailant without even a tremor of struggle. I have invented some tunes for my lyre, though there is no one here to hear them, but I have done that, and I even wrote them down so as not to forget them, and to have them ready for that sunny day I want so much. Is that all? The constricting power of this despair is so very powerful. There are books, and I try to read, and I write my notes in their margins as a substitute for my lost con­versations, yet nothing really comes of it, for that tiredness takes over, and it sends me into fitful bad-dreaming sleep at all hours, and I forget so very quickly what I have read and written. So many times do I open books to find with some sur­prise that I have already read them, for there is writing all over their pages, and it is my writing, and I have been here before, and I have forgot­ten.

If I live to the age attained by my grandfather, the years I have yet to live following the ending of my marriage will exceed the years of the marriage itself, and oh dear, that is a dreadful thought. For all those future years, no conversations. It is such a silent thing, this despair, for the crashing break­ers are not real, and there is no sound. I have tried to recall past conversations, but I cannot do it. Memory fails and shudders to a halt with perhaps the knowledge that yes, we watched that film … but I cannot remember what we said about it. We must have said something … but what was it? It has gone, like tricycles and orchards, and days in the park, or in my great grandmother’s garden, or being in the company of my dear wife … all gone. And all that is left is the effort to keep breathing, to make this body stay alive for another minute, and then for the minute after that, and so on it goes, hour after hour, week after week. And still it seems, and always has seemed, that she died last week, that perhaps it is all a terrible mistake, and I will awaken from this nightmare. And now I am back in my little hut again, and that other world that seemed so real, that world of tricycles and books and conversations, that must be the dream, that trying to stay there, that must be where the madness lies.

Despair is the absence of all hope, when time will no longer permit a perception of past and future, where nothing is allowed to happen any more. It is like lying under a pile of rocks that makes breathing so very difficult, yet still I must try to breathe. But I do not know why. I would like to know what this effort is for. But no, it is a complete mystery. I would like to be of use, to have a mission, to have a purpose, as I did before, but no one wants me for anything. It seems rather odd … but that is the truth of it. It’s the way of things. It’s the way of things.

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