It doesn’t start loudly. It starts with a nudge gone overboard. Perhaps, someone asking you, with much assertiveness, to stay for lunch or maybe, a remark made in friendly banter that tips what you’ve been holding onto for so long, your arms are numb.
And tip it does as you start coming undone. The seams of the very fabric of your identity start to break, thread-by-thread. It’s a quiet implosion; no one hears a thing. Inside, however, you watch the destruction of everything that you know as regular.
A wave of irregularity rises, crushing the very foundation of who you’ve been, submerging the rubble of everything about you that once was and isn’t anymore. It doesn’t take long. An island remains.
The pressure was there, and you knew it. You could convince everyone you had it under control, but there are only so many lies you can tell yourself before you start to doubt yourself. Once you’re there, all it takes is a push. If you’ve felt that burn in your chest, which takes but two milliseconds to spread to your entire body as the room caves in around you, you’d know it.
It was an act of great patience, perhaps, to watch yourself fail over and over again. It was an act of extraordinary heroism to pick a stone up from the wreckage and to start building yourself up again. And yet, no matter how impossibly high, everyone has a limit. Perhaps, I had reached it.
I’m marooned on this tiny island that’s left of who I thought I was; I pick a pebble up. I have a choice. I could understand. I could pick apart what tipped it all into this instantaneous, colossal destruction. I could go about it as I always have and start building, one pebble at a time.
I pause. Then, I swing my arm and toss the pebble into the sea. It skips for a bit and then plops; it sinks to the bottom. I spend the afternoon purposelessly tossing the leftovers. I choose to let it go.
I want to do it differently now. Try some levity, maybe. I seem to be stranded in my own mind anyway. I have all the time in the world and nowhere important to be. I don’t want to understand anything anymore.
I’m much too tired of being the only one who does.