askew, like a question mark.

September 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

By some measurements, of course, she realized she wasn’t a failure. Indeed, she had friends who professed a sort of jealousy for her. And that was gratifying in a way, as these things go. But when you’re raised with the sense of a “calling,” purportedly higher, and thus of the differences that attain to a calling-heeded and a calling-lost — of performing a role in life, rather than merely a job held — you find later, after the religion, in her case, has worn off, the conviction of a call — both its promise and the fallout of it not going so well — well, it still means something you can’t quite explain to others who don’t instinctively share it with you.

As it was now, in fact for quite some time, she had felt . . . non-existent. Oh, she playfully tossed out the term “failure” from time to time, often as a deadpan punchline, to describe herself to others. But she knew this didn’t quite fit. –It’s too measurable, she’d confess if you were to ask. –I feel, she would venture into melancholy, wasted.

For all this, it was the physical toll exacted that she feared more than where these romantic revelries might lead. Her insides felt gangrenous and rotten at nearly all times — pitching her forward slightly when she sat, askew, like a question mark. The doctor plied her with pills, of course, imploring she consider the pharmacy of solutions he could offer. But she resisted. –Medicine is for the sick, she’d insist. –There’s no evidence I’m aware of a chemical balance in my brain. Why should I medicate away the enduring of . . . consequences? Every painful shit and discharge that made her want to scream, every new bodily inflammation, from the hump of her thumb to the plump of her hip, –why should I not have to endure those? It wasn’t that she thought the pain was somehow redemptive — that she was a paschal lamb led to slaughter for some unseen good. No, this she aggressively disbelieved. Rather, she felt that . . . pain simply is, like pleasure, or orgasm, or hunger. But because it is pain, you’ll do what you can, short of a pill, to blunt the edge, or at least distract you from its impact.

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