A Peek Behind The Social Curtain

I took the picture from my hospital window after surgery. It’s a reminder of the world that awaited me.

At 4:27, I stood out on the landing. The horn of the approaching excursion train blasted the Saturday afternoon air. I waited for the passenger cars to pass. I raised my hand and waved, expecting no one to notice me. The penultimate car went slightly past. Someone seated and facing the caboose end of the train waved back enthusiastically. I was surprised. If I’m roadside as the train passes, if one person waves, it usually results in many of those in the same car following suit. It’s a dumb but pleasurable way to greet strangers. They’re on the train as an excursion, away from their normal lives. Many forget that sonder is at play; those of us on this side are standing in our mundane lives, watching them momentarily pass. Such encounters make us forget that each of us is a universe unto ourselves.

Minutes before, I’d held my cat like a baby a few minutes, reassuring him. He loves being held that way. Before I lost all the weight, my back usually started complaining before the cat did. Because of the hot sun on the front of the apartment, he found that sitting a couple of feet back, atop my laptop on the desk was more pleasurable. I’ve had to shoo him five times today. That’s a cat for you; ignores the cat castle in favor of the box, and sits on the valuable electronics instead of specifically designed window sills erected for their comfort. I hate shooing him while he’s so new to the place. If I don’t though, I’ll come to discover that he’s built a sofa on top of my laptop between the dual monitors in front of the main window.

Despite my gratefulness, anxiety had clamped around my throat. Earlier today, when I put pen to paper to finish my wet shoes anecdote, I was happy and satisfied. Writing fills me with the opportunity to imperfectly express myself. Even though it usually is a solitary activity, it is not a lonely one.

Life pivots quickly.

I won’t describe the catalyst to my anxiety. Not all of that story is mine to tell. I reacted honestly and was powerless to derail the thoughts that loop in my head. It’s one of the reasons I decided to go back to counseling, even though financially it’s the worst possible time. The truth is that my time might be shorter if I don’t take the risk. I loathe secrecy; as much as my directness is essentially me, I know now that secrecy in part derailed a couple of parts of my life that didn’t run parallel to losing weight and eating healthily.

I’d done my maximum workout with the dumbbells this morning, so physical exertion was out of the question.

I reached out and talked to someone who is familiar with such issues. Being listened to and understood lifted me. That’s one of the fundamental truths of all of us: connections are essential.

On a whim, I checked the mail. My sister, the one who suffered from addiction most of her life, sent me a card. It’s the first card I’ve received from her in years. It didn’t erase our mutual and destructive history, but it dinged my heart a little.

The universe is watching me. There are no coincidences.

Or all of life is a coincidence. I’m not sure.

But I am certain of people. We all need each other, even as we annoy, vex, or love one another.

Love, X

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