I am surrounded by the nicest, the best, the most wonderful. And yet I manage to say goodbye with all the courage I don’t have, with the mere brush of a kiss I feel with every fiber of my being. And then I walk away.
I am surrounded by debt. Horrific, never-ending loans and back due for this and forward due for that. No amount of bank in tips will correct it. I ask for help, and I don’t receive it. My savings, my utter lack of retirement, my day-to-day earnings are apparently totally expendable– apparently yesterday, everyday. No wonder why I am here. Alone. No wonder I will never, ever go back.
I am surrounded by good people who used to be bad. They meet me at my house to change the batteries in my smoke detectors that are too high in my cathedral ceilings for me to reach, but only after they have ridden a bike to meet with their parole officer. But I am not afraid of these good people. Because they are very good. I know it.
I am surrounded by scary, bad people who appear to be very good. I wouldn’t ask a favor of them if they were the only people available. Never. They are that scary. As very good as they appear to be.
I am surrounded by lush vegetation that hides scorpions that mangle my hand when I try to kill them. My hand heals, but only after I am reminded a second time that the scorpions never really go away, and neither does the pain in my hand that I successfully hide now that my splint is off.
I am surrounded by late-night phone calls that I answer in one ring, too embarrassed to admit that I have been asleep since the sun was still high up in the sky–at say, 6:30 p.m. I am asleep, not because I am depressed, but because I am just that tired. I answer the calls, not because I am just that desperate, but because I am that happy to hear from a person or two, when I least expect to hear from either.
I am surrounded by good food and fine booze and anything else anyone could want, and I only eat a little and drink the best, because all else bores me, right before it scares me.
I am not afraid these days. I am not unhappy. I am not angry. I am surrounded by everyone and everything of every ilk. As alone as I am, I am in my zone. As much as I want to run screaming one minute, I never run the next. Not these days. As much as I stay put, I wonder if it is time to answer another empty call to roam. No. No. Not today.
And when I hang on to the promise of a text, I wonder again. How is it that I am surrounded? Then I admit, sometimes–maybe all the times–I am surrounded of my own hand. Then again, maybe not so much. Sometimes, one is merely surrounded by an unpredictable surge. Sometimes it sweeps you away. Sometimes you are strong enough to swim against it. Sometimes you just swim with it. Because you are feeling just that strong.