Molly Holzschlag

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Tomorrow: On Turning 30

Blank pages like blank walls need filling. There is so much to say yet the voice is weary. I have so much to tell you yet the words come slowly. Stay with me if you can while I fill this empty page and tell you who I am.

With my arms around a stuffed bear, I am tears in the loneliest of nights. The cry is from a place so hollow I dread to know its depths, perhaps they are ultimately undefined. I am wrapped in a blanket from Mexico where this body used to dance in the summer, underneath the desolate sun. Shivering I push away the thoughts of freedom, for I know not how to remember without mourning.

The phone rings and I am brave. I clear my throat, I answer. I listen to the report of life without me and do not let on that I cannot understand how someone I knew in life knows how to reach me in this place. This is limbo and I, unalive.

My body feels filled with poison. My bones ache, my stomach is wracked with sickness, the odor from my mouth annoys me. I feel rotten, wasted, a beautiful ship wrecked on the shores of a fleeting youth. Tomorrow I turn thirty. Yesterday I was 22.

I cannot sleep in this place but I close my eyes. I feel afraid, a fear so primal that it is beyond understanding so I do not try. If I try to stop it my breathing will stop, my body will cease to function. The fear keeps me in this limbo, which from all I can gather is better than death.

I have been in this place before. It is familiar, I know it, I know if I just hold on more tightly that eventually I will come back. But for how long? And how much will I accomplish as a human being alive only to be tripped by this miniscule parasite again? Each year I trust, I fall, I brush off the dirt, I persevere, I fall again.

Fear keeps me. I wrap myself in it for there is nothing else I know so well. Fear is my saviour, if God is here he is silent. I am fear. I am the breath forced into my lungs after will has left. Tomorrow? Tomorrow? Tomorrow?

Reproduced with permission from CATHARSIS, volume 2, July 1993.
© Molly Holzschlag, 1996

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