“I am not inclined to apologize for my anxieties because I have lived with them long enough to respect them…” E.B. White
You are so creative. Feisty, really, in your imaginative abilities. No matter what—you come back swinging. Into the unknown: the pause on the end of the receiver, that symptom or screech, you project an impressive scope of scenarios that surprises even me. Truly, you are talented. Brava! I salute you for that.
Your memory—unparalleled. You are always keeping track, taking notes and then you program it in, an old man peering over spectacles, surrounded by disorderly files and paperwork, punching each key so deliberately lest you forget. You are the dutiful archivist so intent on your work that you don’t even hear me enter the room. And then, in fractions of seconds, these memories come to the forefront, consciously, unconsciously—it doesn’t matter. A smell, a sound, a thought pattern…your evidence arrives unsummoned. It comes unmediated—directly into the veins bypassing esophagus, stomach, any form of proper digestion.
Your Math skills, though, are atrocious. Statistics, statistics, you say…likelihood will not matter when it’s your phone that rings. Then you’ll be swallowed up in that word: statistics that doctors offer patients with cold, dangling legs on paper-covered tables.
There’s no question that you work hard. The pathways you carve and pipes that you dig are several stories deep. There’s dirt under your fingernails, sweat on your brow, and stains on your jumpsuit. I have never seen you relaxing, or even sitting for that matter. It is your custom to pace. You never close your eyes to sleep. The night shift is your favorite actually, but daytime finds you also wide awake. You are nothing if not diligent.
You are insistent, and so damn stubborn! Things should always go your way, your route, “Remember?” You loathe neuroplasticity. You’re not a believer in science or faith. You are too tethered to the earth.
You are a loner. You’re not one to ask for help, or for company, but I take you along. “You can come with me, but please sit quietly in the back seat,” I try to tell you. I hope maybe you will quiet, that the movement will lull you to sleep like a baby, or that you’ll stick your head out the window and see the world going by as wonderous for just a moment. You’ll ride that way with the breeze in your face and in your eyes— the joy and command in a dog’s when it does the same.
But you don’t. You can’t.
You persevere. But you do it for me. “This does not serve me,” I say, but you think it does. You will not be blindsided. You are a master pattern-finder. Apophany, not epiphany. Pareidolia in the worst way.
You’re amorphous, like liquid, or a roach, or a boneless rodent, able to seep into the future and ascertain every shape that it holds with your own body. That is your willing sacrifice.
You are tiny, and bluish, and clustered, and you are always looking out for me. You work so hard, ever-vigilant, ever-present, but ever-fragile, ever-frail.
How can I despise you? Neither can I thank you. “There, there…” I can say. And I embrace you. Into my arms you collapse—for just a moment—and I see you—too sheltered and naive, in all of your small creature-ness, to know the truth of higher things. “There, there…”