Hard to say


A little while ago, I sat on the porch, eight feet from my mother. She looked into the distance and said “You know, this quarantine, I think it’s good for people. People are staying home, learning new hobbies, they’re cooking more. I think it’s been good.”

I opened my mouth and tried to say how hard it’s been. I tried to say that I kept starting to cry, out of nowhere, for no reason. But I found that I couldn’t say it.

I tried to say that the only time I felt okay was when I was numbing with something and now I was stuck in a constant loop, one numbing activity after the other. I tried to say that I felt like my brain was melting basically all the time. I tried to say how badly I was struggling with sugar and alcohol. I tried to tell her that there were things I wanted to do and learn but I couldn’t find the focus and it hurt even more, somehow, every day, to be disappointed in myself like that. I tried to say that I was forgetting what normal felt like.

I tried to say I didn’t know where the strength to get through it all unscathed was going to come from. I tried to say that even after it was all over, I would be different, we all would be, and that I was scared that I would be worse instead of better. I tried to say please, I don’t know how to do this, I don’t know how to make it stop feeling this way, I want it to stop so badly.

She looked over at me because I hadn’t said anything in a bit. My mouth was still open. I shut it.

“Yeah,” I said, and swallowed. “Totally.” And I felt disappointed in myself.