Boyfriend says it’s important to get up and shower every day.
He says, Leave the house for something. You have to or you’ll go crazy.
I tell him, No major life decisions when you’re manic, and he agrees.
We talk for nearly an hour, his manic chatter recognized and named, my seizure-like anxiety (it’s sudden and physical, every molecule screaming to my central nervous system Something terrible is about to happen to you) tamed.
Thank the stars that he and I rarely sync up on symptoms. He’s Italian with a temper, and we’re both good with words.
The risk isn’t yelling, I said. We were gliding south on Lake Shore, one of our first car rides together. It’s sadness. We’ll drown if we’re not careful.
So we are.
Some mornings I wake up to a message that says, Love, I’m not okay today. On a good day, I ask him what I can do and he tells me, Nothing, you’re doing it. It’ll get better. It’s just bad right now. And it always does.
But self-awareness binds us; we disintegrate without it. We make nooses of guilt and stare at one another across gallows on the bad ones. We hallucinate fingers of blame, carve black holes in the sky around us. Climb inside.
When we come back out to breathe, we confess and offer absolution.
It’s okay to fall off the edge sometimes. Just try not to. Unless you need it, love. Then I want you to float.
The trouble is you never asked me to give it up —
the job, the scandal, the booze, the fun; I just knew
it all had to go if we were going to make it.
You said, “I think you like the way they look at you,”
and I could taste the venom on your tongue. The only thing
you asked me to sacrifice was my figure for a child
whose promise may change my name,
If it’s any consolation,
they don’t look at me
and tonight, while you’re out
at the wedding, I lit all of the candles
on our porch
(the one room that you gave me
to be mine, the place you neglected
and never filled before I came,
but I still call
it ours). I looked at it
from the sidewalk. I was happy
with the glow.