Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Canal

She casually mentions one hundred dollars. You do the math in your head and realize your mistake. All of this while staring down the road like a horse with blinders. The hysteria starts. Usually there is just a twinge of annoyance. Today it is full-blown hyperventilating speech. “I-don’t-have-that-why-wasn’t-I-notified-there-is-no-way-I-can-pay-that.” All on the way to your barely-rent paycheck that eats up eighty dollars in gas per week. You panic and hang up on her while she is explaining your “options.” Later you’ll feel guilty for that.

The steering wheel is shaking. Your shoulders start to ache with stiffness. Your chin starts to vibrate and without sobbing three tears start to fall from each eye. You can only stare unblinkingly as your exit passes and the silence before your sobs stretches on. Only once you’ve made three wrong turns to get back on the highway does it start.

It’s like a hiccup with an asthma attack attached. You choke back nonexistent vomit as your glasses start to fog up from the hotness of your tears. Your shaking hands move them once to your head, then to the seat, then as the sun sears your pupils back on your nose. Then back to your head as they fog. You begin to grasp at the wheel, your planner, your phone, your glasses. You can barely see.

You drive at twenty miles per hour until you get to your parallel parking space, without accident or incident. You wipe and wipe and sob and sob but there is no end to the stream of tears.

Notice that your nose isn’t stuffed up. Remember when you realized the only way to effectively cry is upright, otherwise you can’t breathe. Remember that all the times your eyes were red-rimmed and wet, no one noticed you were upset but you, and if they did no one mentioned it. Bringing personal problems wot work is not your style. Having personal problems is your style.

Think about calling in sick and driving home in the non-stop traffic to sleep some more, but think of the people who have now seen your car, the money you stand to earn, the buoyancy of having colleagues, and the fact that people don’t notice and don’t comment on red-rimmed eyes (but perhaps assume drugs are involved or a lack of sleep). Walk, head down with avoidant eyes, to what is, at least, an open door.

No comments:

Post a Comment