I'm a massively unstable person.
It used to manifest in some colorful ways.
Now, I find myself surrounded by things. Things get piled up all around me. I jump at the sound of the coffee maker in the kitchen, having been lost looking through boxes of photographs. I finally moved them from the entertainment center to a high shelf in my closet, upstairs. I was wary of putting them up there, out of my reach. What if it was Tuesday and I had no idea where I was going? What if I couldn't remember when I smoked, when we held hands and you wore a plastic necklace to the bar? What if I forgot that we both wore sunglasses and posed smiling in your kitchen the day you overdosed?
I don't put things away, not really.
What if I can't remember Louise in my memories of last Christmas? I don't want to alarm myself, but I was there and Daddy and Scouty sat with me on the floor. My mom cried in our chair because my grandmother was dead. Her funeral was Christmas Eve. I went alone and came home, listening to tinny, faraway carols on the radio. I ran to you and we ate miniature cakes at the conservatory. There was a towering pile of presents, but I can't remember Louise.
There must be a picture to cure that. There is. She was small and sleepy and wore reindeer pajamas. I don't like to put her away in the dark where I have to stand on tip-toes and feel blindly along the edge of a shelf for her.
When I was a child, my mother had a seizure and went into a coma. I was sitting at the table eating Doritos and I heard a thud from the living room and my baby brother was crying. I found him, lying on the floor at the end of an unraveled blanket. My mom was rigid, her arms were turned against themselves like claws. She had been eating lunch and feeding the baby. Her plate had been resting on the arm of the couch, but now it was stuck to the side of her face.
I picked up my brother. I didn't understand. I thought that her plate was a frisbee; that somebody had thrown it at her head and knocked her out.
Later, when I was nine, she contracted spinal meningitis and my father went away on a fishing trip. She couldn't move. It was Easter and the four of us, my brothers, sister and I huddled around our baskets, eating candy until we were sick. The floor was littered with sparkling wrappers and my mother was grey and sleeping.
I tried to cook eggs and toast for us. I was the oldest. I made a mess of things and buttered the bread before putting it into the toaster.
As soon as I had babies, I developed panic disorder. I was dying, I thought. I had a hidden condition. I would pass out and hit my head in the kitchen while Kurt was at work. I feared losing my mind while driving. I didn't sleep at night, listening to my baby girl breathing in the monitor. There was mold in the shower of our rental. I cleaned my hands until they were cracked and sore.
I've always had a hard time letting go of things, but when I do, it's like the sky is opened up like an egg. Everything pours out.
I spent all weekend getting rid of things and putting things away. I feel hollowed out with smooth insides. I feel like I'm getting the hang of things, again. Waking up early and breakfast's on the stove. Little things that rattle, tiny shoes with buckles, soft pink sleepers and the infant bathtub. We'll never use them again.