He says I should go back on the drugs. He is the one who hears it when I am down, my first port of call in a storm and no doubt he is fatigued. It seems like I am perpetually down, fighting my way up to the surface of the ocean, seeing it but unable to reach it. I think that sooner or later my lungs will burst and I will die. But strangely I just keep on living, tenaciously. I distract myself with work. As long as I am not at rest I will continue to struggle on. Then there is a day when all the work is over and I am faced with myself and the panic sets in. I am chasing my own tail, eating myself from the toes up. It is as if I have set a trap for myself and the more I try to free myself the tighter the noose around my neck.
My life is wonderful. I have no need to complain. I have enough of everything, too much. I am over-blessed. The problem is that I am stuck with myself. Like a conjoined twin desperate to struggle free of my own flesh, I would stab myself in the face repeatedly, I would tear at my chest till I find the black heart of me and remove its gangrenous scent.
Every day I wake up and face the world smiling and no one could tell.
I met a man on the road who worked at the salmon farms. 80 seals broke into the nets. It was carnage, a frenzy. They were pulling the livers out of fish without eating them. It was a festival of murder. The workers threw explosives into the pen, not to hurt the seals but to shock them, scare them out of the pen and into the open ocean. He said you just couldn't tell from looking at the water, the ocean was calm but all this death and destruction being carried out below. That is what it is for me. There are explosions going off inside me, carnage, a feeding frenzy with one part of me tearing the life out of another, and yet out here in the world it is just a calm smile and an overabundance.
He is the only one I tell and that is all he sees of me. Distress, anxiousness, tears. It seems that every day I open my mouth and the guts of it spill out where he can see. I have worn him out and he tells me to take drugs, knowing that if I take them then the writing stops. Knowing that if I take them my sex-drive dulls, the world retreats and I am stuck in a pleasant fog. The smells of things become less acute. I no longer cry when I pass a particular flower. I can tolerate bad television and mediocre literature. In short, the seals die and the fish just swim around stunned and subdued.
I write this post because he is alone watching the horror of my internal nightmare without help. I write this because I want to free him of this lonely position, keeper of ghastly secrets. I know he has been swimming beside me keeping my chin above water without complaint. Go get drugs he tells me and of course I will not. No one else knows about this daily horror show and perhaps I should start hiding it from him as well. Keep him at arms length.
When I return home I will start kayaking again. Out on the water where it is just me and the tide. I feel calmer when I am close to a place of drowning. Perhaps I will replace our chats with the river. When we talk I will put on a smile. It is a terrible thing to be one thing to all others and fall into myself in front of that one true friend. It is a burden and I will lift this off his shoulders. When I return I will stop the slow leak and trap all the hungry seals inside.