My mind gnaws at the problem like a too large cut of meet. Tossing it back and forth in my brain I work at the problem from many angles, but it gets no smaller, tastes no better, and I am continually unsatisfied. There is no way out. I can't reject the problem into a napkin. No. It must be obsessively chewed on.
What I'm doing is writing and rewriting an argument or two arguments or a dozen arguments that I will never have. Sometimes I am cool and collected like a spy and sometimes I am a weeping tear machine. Sometimes I am poetic and witty and other times I am cutting and cruel. All these wonderful versions of myself. This obsession is like a crush, but instead of writing and rewriting a courtship, I am drafting the moment of a break-up that will provide both closure and vengeance.
Suddenly I realize I've just finished shampooing my hair for the third time in a row and my mind is not on the task at hand. Negligence in a shower can lead to prune fingers, being late for the train, missing that first cup of coffee, all of which are great tragedies and clear and present dangers. I deserve that first cup of coffee.
But even as I turn the shower off, twist the towel around my head and draw out tooth paste onto my toothbrush: I am back to arguing in my mind. More obsessive about this than I've ever been about just about anything. It's bringing me down. It's causing me pain. It's making me petty.
It's like a crush, but it's a break up.
My husband sleeps peacefully in the next room. I berate myself for neglecting the blood, bone, flesh and soul man who is my best friend and most ardent supporter in favor of these ridiculous thoughts. Maybe because of this self hating moment, they return. It's a game: don't think about elephants.
It's been years since I've been through a break up. Since a person pushed me away and asked that I continue moving in that direction: away. I wonder if I had gone through this more often, if I would be better at it. I wonder if it is beautiful in a saintly way to suffer this sort of pain. The weight of our history resting on my heart. No. This isn't that. It isn't poetic. It isn't worth calling my teenage self into the room to pull poetically at the problem. Taffy to her, she would wind it round crude arms to mold it to her eager will. How sweet the pain is to her.
No. This problem is a muscle with no fat to sweeten it and no blood to give it reason. It is exhausting. I want to rid myself of this thing.
I make myself I remember those first moments. I remember the place, the conversation, the reason and the hope. Surely the sun was shining on us and our new found friendship. I remember the first time I was invited in. The breathlessness, the sense of being overwhelmed, and the joy of inclusion. I feel the argument bubble up and gain power. No, it was a little over cast. No, it was at the top of a hill and I am persistently out of shape. No, the inclusion was an illusion.
The problem grows. Maybe any moment I'll be able to take a little piece of it. I'll swallow it. I'll understand it. I'll be rid of it even as I internalize it. And in this way the problem, though it will always be with me, will over time become smaller. It will leave my mind free to turn over other problems.
I've never been good at being patient. I want it to be the weekend now. I want that cake now. I want to be able to play the guitar now. I want to enjoy running now. I want to be pregnant now. I want that baby to be interested in building castles out of legos now with me now. I want to write now and I want to be done writing now. I want to be there now. I want to be done with this problem now.
And now the problem seems so big. So big because it will take forever to become anything other than a problem. I want it to be a memory. A piece of my history.
My husband sleeps next to me. Worried for me and the way I worry about this. I think of the worry dolls I had as a child and I wonder if I have any that I can stick under my pillow tonight who will take on to their little match-stick bodies this problem.
Of course they will. But just for tonight. Just while I sleep. Then I will have to live with it again tomorrow. And the next day. And the next. And all these arguments are just with myself and they will always have to be. This isn't for now, this is for always. This is who I am now.
I am this person without that other person.
That is a problem.