I’m sick. Like, physically, sick. I can’t shake this feeling in the pit of my stomach. I feel nervous all the time. And not butterflies-in-my-stomach-oh-god-there-goes my-crush-he’s-so-cute nervous. Like absolutely-sick-something-awful-is-happening-and-I-can’t-do-anything-about-it-but-get-an-ulcer nervous. I’ve been throwing up all day to the point that now it’s just liquid coming up and my stomach feels like I’ve been stabbed with heated metal. I’m distracted, distant, trying not to dissolve into tears at work.
Lying on the tile in the bathroom I can’t help but wonder what’s wrong with me, where along the line I lost control so terribly. I can’t possibly continue to feel this way. I can’t survive like this. It isn’t supposed to be like this.
I’m anxious. I’m contemplating my next step forward but I can’t get off the floor. I’m so tired. Last nite I tossed and turned all night, running things over in my head, trying to tie up the loose ends so they fit nicely over a box I’d like to put up on the shelf now and forget. I’d get hot. I’d toss my covers away. Chills would attack my body. I’d huddle under the covers. Back and forth. Hot and cold.
In and out.
I can’t believe I’ve let myself feel this way. Over what? For what? I pull myself halfway off the floor. My heart isn’t in it. I lean heavily against the wall. My heart and my head are somewhere down south, my head forming images my heart can’t take. I’m seeing it, hearing it, smelling it, tasting it. I start to take in short rapid breaths. I feel like I’m suffocating, like someone is wrapping a warm blanket around my head. I close my eyes. I can still see it. I gasp for breath as the edges of my vision blur to black. I can’t be the girl who died on the bathroom floor at work.
I launch myself at the toilet again and barely make it. I can’t live like this. My stomach is in knots. My legs are trembling. My body is so tense I can’t open my hands. Sweat drips down my spine. It feels like kisses. It’s almost erotic the feel of the cold trail down my skin. I see it again. I hear their words, feel their touches, and the knife goes through my stomach. Back to the toilet.
I sink down on the floor, my back against the cool tile. The tears start silently, and I let them slip easily into my hair. I lay perfectly still. I open my eyes so wide they hurt and make myself watch the movie playing in my mind projected across the ceiling. I watch it. I study it. I don’t even blink.
After it’s over I peel myself in layers off the floor and put myself together. My skin feels hot but I’m cold from inside. So cold I can’t even shiver. I can’t open my hands. I can’t feel my heart. I open the door and walk out as though nothing has happened. I feel the rhythm of it in each of my footsteps. I know it so well, felt it so many times. I smile but my heart isn’t in it. My heart is somewhere down south, breaking, because my mind can see what my heart doesn’t want to hear.
This is the danger of having an open heart.