By Rebecca Waukau
…and I’m drowning, sometimes so slowly I don’t even notice,
Other times with such ferocity, it’s as though the whole world is going down with me.
I’m choking on promises to myself that I’ll never fulfill,
Trying to swallow the emptiness, a minnow trying to swallow a whale.
Productivity grinds to a halt.
The freight train of ideas running through my head pulls up to its stop, only to find…
An empty cargo car.
Looking around, like a child in the midst of a sea of strangers, I stare at them.
They keep going about their day. They don’t notice that I’m down here,
That it’s getting hard to breathe, that I’m suffocating.
They don’t see the skin on my face,
Gaunt and pale, I’m translucent.
Trampled on by a thousand unknowing faces, who trip on me, never looking down.
They keep on smiling.
I keep on getting kicked.
I try to scream, opening my mouth as wide as it will go,
An earth shaking, guttural sound that starts in my belly, pushed out of me with the
Forceful contractions of my lungs.
Only no sounds come out- no raw, animalistic growls, not even the screeching, high pitched cries, like those of a wounded bird.
The silence is deafening.
Suddenly, I realize I’m underwater.
My feet anchored to the floor,
Arms flailing above my head.
“I should be floating,” I think to myself.
Bodies filled with air, float.
Then it hits me.
Like a bicycle tire hitting a sharp, concrete curb,
Exploding into an unpatchable, unrecognizable, pile of rubber on the ground;
There are no sizeable pieces to put back together.
My frame is still intact, still chained.
As if anyone would steal a bicycle with no tires.
I feel useless.
I feel abandoned.
I feel nothing.
The slow process of oxidation seems to have sped up on me.
Chipped nail polish on my fingertips and toes,
The paint peeling from the cold steel of my Schwinn.
Hair a disaster- you won’t find any pretty, iridescent ribbons hanging from these handle bars.
The steel of my deteriorating body is bent.
Too many bumps along the way.
While some have tried to straighten me up-attempted to bend me back so I’ll be,
“As good as new,”
There’s not much anybody can do anymore.
Waiting for something to happen, for someone who’s brave enough to rescue me.
Or the finality and uncertainty of death to come.
I reside myself to the fate I have created over time.
Neither living or dying.
Mediocrity at the very core of my being.
The only truth I know, the only feeling I’ve ever actually felt.
I resign myself to this fate.
Silent, the weight of all the oceans on top of me, fixed in one spot,
I let go.
One finger at a time,
Loosening the calloused grip of a life that has never really existed.
Above me, the people go on with their lives-
Always clamoring for the next best thing,
Rushing to get somewhere, stepping around the used and forgotten strewn about the ground.
“At least I’m not up there,” I say to myself, as a slow, satisfied smile creeps on to my cracked, chapped lips.