In the deep velvet absence of discernible solace, I sat alone, unrecognizable to even myself, on an otherwise mundane Sunday evening. The pile of laundry stacked half way to the ceiling left untouched. The chair that held me was terribly unsure what to do with me. It wanted to seem kind but secretly hoped to avoid contracting my decay as I gradually sank, resembling a battle ravaged frigate, into the depths of the Bermuda suede triangle.
(Is this the reason men name their cars and ships after women…?)
I subconsciously contorted my body into the faint outline of an infinity symbol. It was strangely apropos. All of it. My hopeless hands fidgeted incessantly along the unraveling hem of a simple cotton dress, the floral one, that hung from my shrinking violet frame like freshly washed sheets on a midwestern clothesline. Another ritual of futile consolation.
What can only be described as enormous tears fell in obedient succession from my emeralds-sinking-into-mudholes eyes, resembling a tantrum of rain. These were the kind of drops that splashed with disquieting hysterics down the front of my dress, drenching me in their shrill declarations of despair. As endearing as a spray of childlike kisses they clung, momentarily, to the corners of my thin, pink lips before exploding like improvised explosive devices into the dark caverns of my lap. Saline shrapnel streaking like wedding sparklers. Puddles of self pity, rippling erratically, with my hearts’ earthquakes.
The Truth, impeccably punctual, had arrived by now, with his briefcase of beauty and brutalities. He sat opposite me in the leather ottoman. The one beside the faux-antique bookcase. It gazed in my direction for what felt like ages with an eerie yet organic indifference. Impartial to the gorgeous mess I had dissolved into, impervious to the chaos I exuded between fierce, sobbing breaths. It did not revel in my heaving, nor did it offer platitudes or silver linings. Instead it watched me self destruct with a temperance born of the unavoidable.
After all – the Truth had a job to do. One job, at all costs. As much a mercenary of mercy as a tradesman of tragedy, the Truth was not ignorant to its unfortunate duties and met the panicked avoidance of its arrival with miraculous tolerance. Intrinsically as challenging to swallow (and stomach) as a bottle of ipecac without the spoonful of sugar. At the same time, the Truth was prayed for in absolution and moments of utter desperation. The man behind the curtain, the great equalizer. So it goes.
Ever the consummate professional, the Truth held its breath and waited for my frenzies to spend themselves, to eventually subside. For my madness to crash and burn. Immune as ever to surrender of any kind.
The Truth, from its perch in that inconspicuous ottoman, possessed a startling integrity. His blank expression exuded convictions that quieted my descent into self inflicted apocalypse. Unlike lies with their sleight of hands, temptations with their piñatas and neon signs, and death beds disguised with potted marigolds and welcome mats, the Truth spoke without charms or wiles, without a hint of pretentiousness.
He would soon be ushering me toward a moment of realization that should not be questioned. That I needn’t fear him or the wisdom that followed. Even if it hurt like hell. Even if it killed me. This was, after all, for the greater good. This is the order of things. Pain is far better than ignorance, he explained.
On the precipice of these words I felt the evenings’ sorrows abandon me. These were shallow beasts that gorged on the unknown’s that had spread inside me like wild fire. I allowed myself one last exhale before accepting the Truth into my arms without another moments hesitation. He murmured against my ear that I was a city that had been bulldozed into a prairie. Suddenly he placed something in my hand.
It was only then, I realized, that the Truth…. was naked.
April Duncan, 2019