What do you want? It has become like a mantra, something they chant as I walk down the line of hands waiting to touch my head, my cheeks, my shoulders, demanding as I rush down the end, demanding as I flee from my own line.
To lie down and die. It isn’t the right thing to say. It isn’t the thing I say. It isn’t the thing I think about as I smile and brave up, and absorb the pain of the impact of hands reaching out demanding things from me.
What do you want? He never quite asks it. Sometimes I think he knows when he watches me with those soft quiet eyes that never judge. Not like those other eyes. That laughed and scorned and winked at the endless hands that demand of me.
Let’s walk the dogs. I always hesitate. And I call up excuses in my head. The sun, I don’t have enough sunscreen. The road. It is too dusty today. The people. They always stare. Me. I don’t feel so good today.
What do you want? To be brave like you. To be who I really am without being afraid of being less than I am. To be brave like you. To never let the pain push me so that I wish I was dead. No, I am not suicidal. I just wish for… quiet.
Let’s go talk to some people. I have more excuses. But like I walked the dogs, with him, down that dusty road, with people staring, I will do this too. It isn’t what I want. I still want the… quiet. It has become the shameful thing I want.
What do you want? Sometimes I forget, and I ask myself. I don’t want to die. In the downward spiral of a cycle that hits me hard and demands courage, just to take my meds one more time. I want to walk the dogs.
Let’s try the new doctor. I can barely afford it. He can barely afford it. My mom can barely afford it. Daddy can barely afford it. They. those others, they don’t want to afford it. So we go and we try. And we are all exhausted when its done.
What do you want? I take my meds like a good girl. I go to work like a responsible person. I pray, I worship, I do what is required of me. I love with all of my heart. All of it. And yet I fall short. So sometimes… I want quiet.
Let’s do some yoga. It will lift your spirits, make you a little stronger, fight the side effects of prednisone, and Plaquenil, and Zinnat, and Rheumatrex, and Carbegoline, the extra calcium, B12… I do the yoga, and eat right, and sleep right…
What do you want? The answer is simple really. I want it gone. But it won’t be gone, will it? So I have to walk down that line of demanding hands, and hope that by the time I am done, they will be bored with watching me…
Let’s be nice now. You be nice, I shout in my head. But I can’t shout, not at the ones who remain patient, and kind, and strong, and so eternally there. So I hide. I am here with them. But I am hiding in the box.
What do I want? What do you want? What do you want from me? What do the voices outside the box want? What do I want?