This piece was previously featured on Samantha Schutz's (author of "I Don't Want to be Crazy" and "You Are Not Here") blog, "You Make Me Feel Less Alone." www.youmakemefeellessalone.blogspot.com

"I look in the mirror and I see a stranger."

Nicole Easterwood

I can feel the heaviness again.
I am driving down the road
at ninety to nothing,
flooring it so I can get home,
so I don’t have to do this
in the middle of the road
alone.
My sister’s there.
She knows what to do,
what to say to me
to make me begin
to calm down.
Even if I don’t tell her
what’s going on.
There is nothing here,
but blackness
and my mind
is pacing back and forth.
I keep trying to figure out
what triggered it this time
so I can know not to do
whatever it was again.
But each time
it’s something different.
Each time the “thing”
that makes me feel like I am
losing
control
changes.
I can’t pinpoint anything anymore.
I can’t figure out what it is this time.
All I can see
when I turn around
each corner is
fail,
Fail,
FAIL.
Like nothing I’m doing matters
and the sea of brackish water
is consuming my lungs
when I am mute.
Like all it would take
to make all of the tension
and pulsating stop would be
making a stop by “Blunt Guy’s” house.
I could waste away
into the pot
and the alcohol and,
for a little while,
I wouldn’t feel like
I was dying.
The offer is
so tempting.
Then I think of Jake
and my mentor and
what they would think of me
if they knew all of this,
but I can’t take all of it anymore.
I look in the mirror
and I see a stranger,
someone who
could not possibly be Nicole,
someone who should not still
be here in this town,
someone who should
be gone by now.
And Jo is the only one
who really understands
that I can’t be
in this house anymore.
That even driving is a task
and my chest is still heavy
and stomach churning
as I pull in the driveway
and try to breathe,
breathe,
breathe.


©2010, Nicole Easterwood