the law says we only get six months to mourn tragedies, six months to howl at the moon and claw at our thighs until they look like road maps. six months, and then the pain will die away just like we wanted to.
i didn't think it could really happen, but i've seen it. my neighbor's husband left her two years ago, and they're taking retroactive sadness into account. now that her grief has expired, she can't stop smiling. she told me that she's free to pull the weeds from her garden and wear her red high heels again. she has a date with the UPS man, and i swear she's lost five pounds.
i ran into my friend jennifer in the produce section yesterday, and she hugged me so hard that i felt my back crack. jennifer had a miscarriage seven months ago, but when she mentioned that she's going to start trying for another baby, i was the only one tearing up over the zucchinis.
i've got two more days left 'til mine expires, but i don't know if i can give up the sadness when the time comes. i've felt this heavy hand on my back for so long that it's almost like a friend.
i want to reassure everyone that it's okay to be sad sometimes, but i'm slowly running out of people to tell. they're all becoming happy, which is both wonderful and horrible at the same time. i'm just so afraid that soon all i will have left to talk about is high heels or ripe vegetables, and no one will care that after my neighbor signed her divorce papers, we watched crappy TV and ate pineapple ice cream until i threw up, which is its own kind of bliss.
i'm writing this down so that i don't forget jennifer's voice shaking against my ear as she sobbed, and so that i don't forget that i never want to eat pineapple ice cream again.
in two days i will be made happy, and i'm just trying not to think about how terribly sad that is.
She has also been an inspiration for me in times past and I hope my muse can see her to repeat the blessing.
Wow. This is gorgeous. So sweet and sad and aching. It sounds like a good thing, really, the expiration of sadness, which means that from the start I was a little bit suspicious of that premise, I suspected I would be led to the opposite conclusion by the end. And then the line, "she can't stop smiling." It's simple, and innocuous, and certainly not as poetic as lines like "i've felt this heavy hand on my back for so long that it's almost like a friend." (Which is a gorgeous line, by the way.) But it really gets you--she can't stop smiling. she can't stop smiling. And we get this impression of a face frozen in glee, unable to take any other shape no matter how much its owner might want it to.
Part of what I love about your writing is that you can take these ordinary moments, like running into a friend in the produce section, and marry them seamlessly with the internal monologue, the inordinary narrative world in your (and/or the character's) head. You find the poetry in the ordinary, the feeling and the meaning, and you do that here as well.
(p.s. I still read your book out loud to myself sometimes. it lives on a shelf with all my other most-important-most-precious books.)
It's a natural human reaction that must run its course.
Just ...don't get so caught up in all the bad times that you miss out on the good.
"Things are going to happen in life that you can't stop, but that's no reason to shut out the world." -Crazy Pete
"It doesn't do to dwell on dreams, Harry, and forget to live." -Dumbledore
Keep being brilliant!
Beautiful work as always! You have a special way of writing that reminds me of a beloved grandparent taking my hand as we stroll slowly among majestic trees and they share some piece of wisdom it may take me years to fully understand.
Thank you for this