As a child, you imagined that clouds were solid and that tomorrows would always come. On Sunday mornings, you’d watch planes drag lazily across the sky. You couldn’t understand how pilots could be so skilled. How do they dodge the clouds, mommy? Shut up and stop asking questions. You’d nod but you’d still wonder about those amazing pilots. Skulls and crossbones mean pirates and poison, but it seemed that mommy forgot which bottles were which because her pirate juice, the one that made her words sound funny and her snores loud like thunder, it was full but the poison left a dried ring of froth around her mouth. Tomorrow didn’t come for mommy, but she must be living on a cloud now. On the top, you know, so you can’t see her, but she’s still there.
A lawyer now, you lost the magic of solid clouds and pirate juice. You know our mother left you. She couldn’t help it, they say. She was ill, they say. You know, they say, pointing to their heads and turning their fingers around imaginary locks of hair. You nod, pennies filling the back of your throat and dwindling from your bank account.
Sunday mornings are quiet as death now. You imagine death is actually quiet. No more screaming babies on the subway, no more overheard arguments through thinning, half-eaten drywall. Just quiet. And dark. Like those sensory deprivation tanks, only you can’t be deprived of senses if you don’t have them. Just like your mother believed she couldn’t have her life stolen out from under her, ruined by a child she never wanted, if she didn’t have a life.
Top three questions every person with depression hates being asked: Why are you sad? What’s wrong with you? Why are you mad at me?
I’m not sad so much as feeling nothing at all but that’s hard to say when I can’t peel the frown from my lips long enough to remind you I love you.
Nothing is wrong with me, unless of course of you count the fact that I’ve forgotten what it means to be a person. I’ve forgotten what words are supposed to taste like and what a smile is supposed to feel like. I don’t remember what I like to do because these days I really like staring at the ceiling in the dark and watching the colored hallucinations fly across the ceiling. But I wouldn’t say I enjoy that so much as its the one thing I feel good at.
I’m mad at you because you are so beautiful and so good and I’ve forgotten how to love you. I love to look at your eyelashes when you sleep. I watch the way your eyes move behind your eyelids and I imagine that I am somewhere lovely with you. So, I’m not so much mad at you as I’m mad at myself for being this anchor that drags you to the bottom of the ocean. I’m mad at myself because I’m drowning you in my own void but I can’t stop. I’m mad because I can’t remember how I used to show you I love you.
In the darkness of the deepest night, I thought I saw an Apology once. It wasn’t near as scary as people had made it seem. Actually, it looked quite nice. From what I could see in those shadows, it was vast but somehow seemed to take up very little space. Its mouth was turned down and its eyes were wide and glowing. Funny, I didn’t see any fangs. But as quickly as it had come, it vanished.
A few nights later I thought I saw it again, but it was only an illusion, like those dark shadows that seem to flit away at the edge of your vision. Apologies are like that, I think. They’re illusive, which makes them very valuable.
I’d heard once about a man who saw so many Apologies that he decided against their significance and favored instead the monstrous Cold Shoulder. These beasts are much larger than apologies. Their icy skin seems to stretch on for miles, cutting through and destroying anything it its path, especially Apologies. Cold Shoulders are the only known predators of Apologies. Well, besides humans I suppose.
So, one day, I decided to try to create an Apology. I tried to put an Apology together with the crease in your brow and the downward turn of your lips. I pulled your silence into bunches and tried to fashion them into the body of the Apology. I gathered hateful words and slammed doors and cloudy days, but none of them would fit into the Apology mold. I didn’t let this stop me. I’ll keep trying to fashion an Apology for you because I don’t know when I’ll be lucky enough to see one again.