[UN]LIMITED

It’s Saturday night, I’ve paused the tv and the house is quiet. The dog is looking at me, watching my every move in case there is something in it for him. I go for my phone, which has been charging in the kitchen, and unplug it before scrolling down my list of recent calls until I find the contact I’m looking for. They never gave me any straight answer on how they’d get home, so I figure I should check just in case. The line rings and rings before going to voicemail — I hang up and try another number. If she isn’t picking up then he most likely will, he’s almost as addicted to the phone as I am. He picks up and immediately I can hear loud music, conversations and laughter, my chest stings a little and I slide to the floor where the dog is waiting for me to pat his head, I oblige.

I shout over the noise in the receiver, my voice is light, easy, and I ask if I’m picking them up at the bus stop later or if they’ve arranged for some other means of transport. There’s laughter in his voice when he replies, he’s having a good time, I can tell, and he tells me they haven’t thought about it, but they’ll call someone so I don’t have to worry or stay up to wait for them. I ask if they have a key, but he mishears me and tells me, yes, they are having a great time, they’re at a pub and my sister and cousin have come to join them as well. I tell him that it sounds like they’re having fun and again inquire about the key, he doesn’t hear me and I end up placing the phone in front of my face and shouting the question into it so he’ll hear. They have a key. I laugh and wish them a good night before we hang up.

As the conversation comes to an end, my smile slowly drops and I sit and look into the large floor to ceiling mirror that is on the wall outside the door, my own face stares back at me at a distance. It’s as blank as I feel. A seedling of envy has taken root inside of me and I wish I was there with them, but I’m not, because my body is in recovery mode — it can’t handle social scenes and physical activity. The silence is deafening and I refill my glass of water and go back to the tv, un-pause it and turn the volume up a few notches to make sure it drowns out the haunting silence.

They deserve this night off, to enjoy themselves in a different setting and to take a night off from the world, I simply wish I’d been there with them. The envy isn’t forged from a dark place that would’ve wanted them to stay behind, no, just a simple wish that I could’ve come after. But it is never simple and my world isn’t perfect and so I can’t join them even though I know they’d welcome me with open arms and joy and love if I did. I am just physically not able to go, again.

The tag on my Yogi tea tells me ‘you are unlimited’ and in a deep corner of my mind I know it to be true, but then and there all I feel is a plethora of limitations. Bullet points of all the things I can’t do and all the people I can’t see because it’ll leave me drained in a bed, trying to crawl back to some form of living state.

All I can think as the pictures on the screen flicker before my eyes is, ‘am I out of the woods yet? And if not now, when?‘ I know there’s no answer to it. I’ve been in this position before (and worse) and worked my way back out, so I know it’s not forever, but in the empty house with the tv turned up too loud, two sleeping animals at my side, I can’t help but wonder when I’ll be allowed to live like someone who isn’t sick all day every day, when I can stop anticipating the next hurdle because I know it’s going to come at some point, but I also know that thinking too much about it is not worth my time because it would steal away the precious moments I have in-between all the knockouts. I wonder if I have the fight it requires to see this through, but of course I know the answer before the thought is fully formed: I have the fight, because rolling over and existing like this forever is simply not an option.

My hands yearn for a keyboard and my manuscript, but my head can’t handle it as it requires too much concentration. My mind yearns for my favourite café, a coffee and a writing session, but none of these things are possible this week, maybe not next week either; and so I’m left with the house, the tv and the couch, boxed in by limitations as I watch my favourite episodes that I’ve seen before, but I can’t think of what else to watch as the unread books that are waiting for me in my room is not a luxury I can indulge in for the time being. The time will come again, it’s just not today, or tomorrow, but maybe soon.

Then it’s Sunday, again, and I only know it because my phone tells me. The world continues to move forward while I’m at a standstill, and all the uneventful days blur together and lose significance, they’re all the same and today won’t be much different either, but there’s always tomorrow.

– Martie xx

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