I try to enjoy it, but I can’t.
The boys are asleep, and so is my husband, and while I should be reveling in the silence, I feel instead like climbing out of my skin.
These quiet evenings, the ones that have me staying up past everyone else’s bedtime, bring anxiety and a sense of dread.
The television does not help.
Working on my laptop does not help.
Favorite songs and hardcover books do not help.
It takes me a few months to realize why.
I walk outside onto the balcony on one such evening, to get some fresh air, to let the cats in, to clear my head.
Instead I am greeted by an onslaught of guilt and revulsion, as the faint hum of crickets makes the hair on my arms and neck stand straight up.
And suddenly, I remember.
I remember the giddiness I felt as I waited for everyone to give into their slumber.
I remember the way the booze tasted as it slid down my throat, the way it promised that I would feel nothing, if only for a little while.
I remember the relief I felt as the numbness began it’s decent, and suddenly everything became nothing and no one mattered, not even God.
I remember watching the clock, the numbers blurring, the time no longer relevant because I was weightless and limitless and the world was in the palm of my shaking hand.
I remember the balcony.
The high I felt as I spat obscenities in the darkness.
I remember never wanting the night to end, never wanting to endure another sunrise, never again having to face the disappointment smeared across my husband’s face as it met the morning light.
I stand here alone, in the same darkness, on the same balcony, and I feel the crushing weight of those sleepless nights, the hum of the crickets stinging my ears and my head and my heart.
and so I turn away from the darkness, away from the memories I cannot bear but must endure, and I walk back into the kitchen
shut the glass door behind me,
the faint glow of nightlights guiding me down the hallway
past the fear
past the regrets
past the guilt and hopelessness
as I walk away from what no longer defines me
and towards the life that does