Tuesday, December 13, 2005

It's a start. Kind of.

I couldn't sleep last night. I kept rolling over and squinting at the clock and then shuffling the sheets around, squirreling into the duvet to get warm. Too warm. I stared at the ceiling. 12:32. I looked at the clock. 12:38. I got up and put on a pair of my father's gray sweatpants and my coat, ready to drive back up to Sarah Lawrence and go to the library. I spent seven hours there yesterday, finishing my paper, and then realized that there was some kind of virus on the computer so the file had been corrupted. I lost everything I'd done. It could have been worse, I know. It could have been an assignment in the real world, with ramifications that extend beyond one teacher's opinion and evaluation. Still, though, this is my very last academic paper, ever, and I'm motivated to make it great. Barring greatness, I'd even settle for coherence. After the corruption incident, I drank a Diet Coke and blinked at the computer screen long enough for me to decide I needed to get out of the libaray and come home.

And all day there was this voice in my head saying, "You take your friends for granted." I tried talking to my mother about it--the email from my friend, the guilt I'm feeling, this gnawing anxiety. I asked her if she thought my world was the size of a pebble and she said, "Oh, Sarah, that's not a question for me to answer."

Only after I pressed that that wasn't saying much for her legacy did she relent. "Okay, okay," she said. "You're not a pebble."

I'm back in the Sarah Lawrence library, chip-chip-chipping away at the paper. I drank a cup of hazelnut coffee and ran downstairs to talk to Jason from my workshop and while he was telling me about his 30-page essay on Maldova, I thought, "I am going to throw up now." Not because of anything he was saying, I just had that sick nauseated feeling. I leaned over and grabbed onto the armrest of his chair and he kept talking about medicated depression and I thought, "If I vomited here in the library, these people would help me. I've been arguing with Jason in class all semester but if I threw up next to his backpack he wouldn't judge me."

And then I felt an upspring of compassion for him, and for all the medicated depressives at the library, and the unmedicated ones, myself included. I can kick myself from here to the East River, saying I'm a failure, I'm a bad friend, I'm a tiny pebble, but to do so would be missing the point. Which is that every morning presents an opportunity for me to be better--and by better what I mean is not to take anything for granted. To be less defensive and hard. To exert more energy into the relationships I have with people other than Robert. To pay attention.

A good start, I guess, would be to listen to what Jason is saying without thinking about throwing up.


Anonymous camille said...

Get out of your head sometimes, buttercup. It's real life not a movie.

6:07 PM  

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