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The Stillness

May 18, 2010

I’ve been very stressed by this math class I’m taking. Earlier today I was trying to work on my homework, which I couldn’t start till late because of some computer troubles, and I got one too many problems wrong and had to start over.

I yelled at my family a little then went outside. It had stopped raining and the world was beginning to stir again. It was beautiful, but there was an overwhelming stillness inside me. I walked halfway across the street and stopped. Two ducks were frolicing in the puddle across the yard. I paused and pretended to not look at them, and became very still.

I don’t know how long I stood there but it was like falling asleep. I watched the squirrels and the ducks and listened to the birds and the water dripping from the trees. I stood there with my knees locked. Before long the first car came. I didn’t want to move and scare the ducks away, so I remained. The car drove around me. Gradually I became more aware of everything around me, but I felt less and less real. I felt like I was invisible, like I had no presence in this world. I watched and listened and felt everything, yet I didn’t even turn my head if an animal went outside my view. I waited patiently and it came back in my field of view again.

Three more cars drove around me. The fourth slowed to a stop behind me. I was aware of the fact that I was standing motionless in the middle of the road, but it seemed irrelevant. The driver got out and walked towards me. I felt a strange feeling wash over my skin, knowing their curious attention was on me. I felt like I couldn’t move. “Are you ok?” I heard. The man walked around me to see my face. He had big, round eyes and big pupils. I guess it was kind of dark for afternoon.”You shouldn’t be standing in the middle of the road, you know.” Slightly patronizing but hey.

I stood there a moment longer, thought about him being a somewhat kind stranger, wondered why it took the fourth person before anyone asked if I was ok. I thought about him talking about me during dinner later that night. I turned around stiffly and started walking away. “Are you ok? Because you don’t look ok.” I heard him call after me. I raised a hand in acknowledgment and forced out a horse “Yes.”  I couldn’t have him knowing where I lived, so I continued on past my house.

I waited a while but his car was still parked at the neighbor’s. Finally I turned back and slipped into my backyard and went inside. I sat down and noticed the bottoms of my feet were numb, and my legs from the knees down were all pins and needles. I forced myself to speak even though I didn’t feel like it, and I’ve been interacting with my family for a few hours since then but it’s nine now and I am so tired. My limbs feel so heavy. I might go to sleep early.

The thunder from the storm made me think of another life, and all the people I miss. I worried the man would come knock on my door and ask my parents what is wrong with me. I wonder if he’s a neighbor or just someone visiting? On the way inside I saw my cat and scooped him up, buried my face in his fur and used it as an excuse not to talk right away.

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