by Jennifer on September 23, 2011

{I wrote this just over two years ago and came across it again just now. Sometimes words can come back to haunt you, but sometimes they circle back around just when you need them.}

tunnelThe bedroom. Four o’clock sunlight reaches through the blinds and slants like cursive across the wall. I could see it if I open my eyes.

I lie there, two fists full of blanket tucked under my chin, holding on to these cotton fibers like they’re the only true thing I know. As though what I need is balled up inside, and if I let go I’ll lose it all for good.

As if I haven’t already.

It doesn’t matter what that thing is, not really, or how recent or far off the afternoon. Every one of us has lain there on that bed, alone. Sure that we should have seen it coming. Or worse, we actually did.

At that thought, I hold tighter to the blanket, as though I’m five and scared of the dark, back before I knew that the people in those other  rooms must have held tight to their own covers. Enough disappointment, enough lost things, for everyone.

And the one thing we all know (even if the thought is just a small stone that rolls about in the bottom of the soul) is that  it’s impossible to see the light at the end of a tunnel if that tunnel is curved. If there’s no straight shot from the entrance to the way out.

So you think, just goes to show you. It was always going to end up this way. Should have known better. How do I go toward something I can’t even see?

But, where’s the choice? So you hold your breath and listen. Open your eyes wide and strain to see in the dark. Feel your way onward by inches, only sure of the last step you took. Pinning every hope on the next step.

And so, forward.

But first, there’s that space under the blanket, and thank god for that. Except sooner or later (sometimes much later) you  realize that you’re no safer there than anywhere else. Turns out, a blanket doesn’t make a very good shield. And when the moment comes –  a meal to prepare, or kids to pick up from school – there’s nothing to do but to fold up that blanket  and put it back on the shelf.

To open your hands and let go of whatever you held on to so tightly. To trust the wind that carries away those wishes, and know that you might not get all the things you hope for, or enough of them, but there is something up ahead, waiting. And that you might just find it framed in the arc of the tunnel exit and bathed in sunlight. All the the good things that drew you forward all along, the other souls, the peace,  the version of you that you can finally let yourself see, the way others have all this time.

And you’ll think just goes to show you

Even if you can’t finish the sentence, and you’re not sure how soon you’ll be able to. You know the answer is out there. You realize, in the light, that you can believe that much. Or you will, any day now.

You’ll let yourself believe that one day the answer will come to rest like a leaf inside you, next to the stone. And that each of them (at last) will weigh the same as the other.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Donna L September 24, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Just beautiful–I recognize myself in these words…

Suzanne September 24, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Oh Jennifer, this is so beautiful and you are going through and I can’t wait to see you a year from now, sitting back, amazed at how far you’ve come.

Daryl September 26, 2011 at 11:02 am

Yes, we’ve all been there .. and you need to remember how strong you are .. if you forget, just ask me.

Middle State/MomZombie September 27, 2011 at 12:01 pm

There is something about being in bed around 4 p.m. (unless I’m sick) that scares the hell out of me. I really enjoyed this piece; it conjures up some dark, but relatable places.

kelly October 5, 2011 at 3:31 pm

I check in here once in a while between the times I’m not writing — which is most of the time these days. And when I do finally decide to write, I try and check in with those I’ve read quietly from the sidelines for a while now. I thought you’d stopped writing as well. Glad to find this today and have the chance to think about your words…tunnels with curves…I’ve never thought of it that way before. Best to you from someone who enjoys your writing.

phd in yogurtry October 21, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Your writing is so inspiring. You manage to put down words that hold so much meaning, to me, anyway. “Feel your way onward by inches” – this is truly how it feels. Whether life is rolling along at breakneck speed or feeling like it is sitting still. It’s all in the inching forward.

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