I’m calling this Document 12.
Document 12 is being written in a Word document, because my Internet connection is poor and creaky. It’s the 12th document I appear to have opened within a certain period of time. It named itself, kind of like it has its own soul. I merely accepted. I said: “Yes, you may take the name of Document 12.”
Can a document have a soul? And what happens when I copy paste it into the InterWebs? Does a little of its soul leach away? Is it a clone, an ember, a scrap of white glare that says writeonmewriteonme you poor wretched wannabe something or other that you are not…yet.
See, the winter isn’t doing me so well. I think I’m going mad. I really do. I try to be funny because it’s the only way I can keep going, I think. It’s February 1, 2011. I will make it to March. I always have.
I haven’t been using my new SAD lightbox properly, even though bug-eyed bunnies with garlands of daisies fairly leapt out of it the first time I tried it. I don’t have time to sit in front of it. I’m supposed to sit there for half an hour, with a book or whatever, while it glares its shiny happy light of wonder at my stricken face, and heals me.
Could it heal me?
What about a vitamin, or a special pill that rattles in my purse like manna, knowing it will pull myself in tight, like a cloak? My legs and arms will be safe by my sides. The world will not devour me, at least not whole.
I sometimes walk along the street and think: I am going to fall, and no one will catch me. I don’t mean a clumsy-footed fall on the ice, while pedestrians laugh and throw eggs and offal at me. I mean, perhaps, that I will stay below, and the world will rise above like a balloon growing distant, with all its warm laughter and colors. So my falling will be more like being left behind.
Or maybe I will forget how to find myself, and where I am, and when I take my glasses off I will not see. Nothing belongs to me; my rings and necklaces are borrowed from the living. Someone might decide to turn off the lights. Someone else might simply close Document 12, and be done with it. Document 12 wants to live, though. It has a beating heart around its edges. Its borders are like the lake I once swam, where I thought I might drown when I had eaten too light a lunch and exercised too fiercely. Keep to the edges, and you will be safe.
I said to myself that day: “You must not panic here. You must put your head down into the water, and make it to the other side.” I put my head down, and I did. I was alone. I kept going.
I feel the flickerings of this sort of fear in the winter. The walls seem too far away, or too close. The ceiling seems lower than it usually does. Did it always meet the edge of the wall, just like that? One misstep and I could knock into a wall, or miss the doorframe. I never do. I never do, and I am strong. But I am also dizzy and weary and confused. I want to know what is wrong with me. Maybe what is wrong with me is also what is right with me. I have been dizzy since the age of three. I can no longer drive on the highway. I will win over this; I will not die.
Everything recedes away. I was talking to a friend the other day at the gym and the world lurched away from me until the edge of the weight machine seemed leagues distant and I felt faint, and I looked at his kind face, and I said: “I think I don’t feel so well.” So he walked me carefully over to the machine that dispenses the Powerade and other drinks, and I bought a Powerade with quarters and drank it.
“How will I get home?” I thought, sitting in a chair with my soft mittens pressed on my forehead. “I might as well be on the Moon.” I couldn’t see how my legs would move to get me there. I couldn’t see it at all. I could place a call, and ask for a ride. How weak would that seem!
But finally I got up, and walked, roughly, over the slurred ice and past the hulking snowdrifts and I don’t how I got there. I don’t know how, but I got home. Keep going.