The Burden of a Day
I wake up a stranger in my apartment. I’ve lived here for 3 months now, but with the summer I’ve had it’s the first time I’ve stayed here longer than a week. I’ve got nothing and everything on my mind. How cliché. But nonetheless true, I can accurately say that is exactly how I feel as I get out of bed and hop into the shower.
A broad dull wave grips me and I stare further into the pale white cement bricks. This is it, the first day of school after I lost my dad. It was only a little over a month ago. I’m ready I think, I can fake it until I make it. A rather droll idiom yet I find a little more comfort in it each day. I’m not ready for this shit, like anyone ever is. It could be worse, I could be 14 like my brother. I was his age when all this began, I mean it’s not like my dad was running away, he crept out slow. I get out of the shower, I can only clean myself so much. Some stains just don’t wipe off.
I get dressed and grab a granola bar as I run out the door. The cool autumn air and morning sun supplant me into better days. Back to when I was one of the boys of fall. I remember adorning myself in the Ponies red and black. How proud I made him. Or the straps on my shoulders and how we picked out the backpack before my freshman year of college. No detail is safe, no matter how innocent the sentences are to some. Sometimes to me they are intrusive and jarring, sometimes even debilitating.
But not today. I will be strong. In the same way you can’t have courage without fear. You can’t have strength without knowing weakness. I feel so naked. I won’t quiver when the professors introduce themselves and politely ask the class “how their summer was?” or other meaningless pleasantries that have now been unintentionally jaded for the worse. I know they’re coming.
In life we are often reminded of our differences rather than our similarities. People notice the sick and disabled kids, kids with divorced parents, one parent, the kids whose parents have cancer and other illnesses. They recognize the sadness, but eventually people expect me to stop hurting, as if the pain really ever goes away. It’s nothing personal, not my fault. I don’t blame them, it’s just like the whistles from the midnight train: everyone knows it is there but no one wants to hear them.
Uneasy hearts never weigh any less. I just wear faster. The bags under my eyes droop more, my face wrinkles just a little quicker and my hands weather just a little faster, praying one day I’ll sleep a little lighter. I’m a bit apprehensive walking into class, but I know I have a friend in this class. It makes things a little easier.
I crack a smile, a smile that kills. It’s beautiful outside and I’ve yet to bring down the day. I sit down next to Mary and I know everything is going to be alright. At least for today. Tomorrow I can complain about how my best friend’s life got ripped right from me. Oh the burden of a day.