Tunnel

by Jennifer on September 8, 2009

The bedroom. Four o’clock sunlight reaches through the blinds and slants like cursive across the wall. I could see it if I open my eyes.

I lie there, two fists full of blanket tucked under my chin, holding on to these cotton fibers like they’re the only true thing I know. As though what I need is balled up inside, and if I let go I’ll lose it all for good.

As if I haven’t already.

It doesn’t matter what that thing is, not really, or how recent or far off the afternoon. Every one of us has lain there on that bed, alone. Sure that we should have seen it coming. Or worse, we actually did.

At that thought, I hold tighter to the blanket, as though I’m five and scared of the dark, back before I knew that the people in those other  rooms must have held tight to their own covers. Enough disappointment, enough lost things, for everyone.

And the one thing we all know (even if the thought is just a small stone that rolls about in the bottom of the soul) is that  it’s impossible to see the light at the end of a tunnel if that tunnel is curved. If there’s no straight shot from the entrance to the way out.

So you think, just goes to show you. It was always going to end up this way. Should have known better. How do I go toward something I can’t even see?

But, where’s the choice? So you hold your breath and listen. Open your eyes wide and strain to see in the dark. Feel your way onward by inches, only sure of the last step you took. Pinning every hope on the next step.

And so, forward.

But first, there’s that space under the blanket, and thank god for that. Except sooner or later (sometimes much later) you  realize that you’re no safer there than anywhere else. Turns out, a blanket doesn’t make a very good shield. And when the moment comes –  a meal to prepare, or kids to pick up from school – there’s nothing to do but to fold up that blanket  and put it back on the shelf.

To open your hands and let go of whatever you held on to so tightly. To trust the wind that carries away those wishes, and know that you might not get all the things you hope for, or enough of them, but there is something up ahead, waiting. And that you might just find it framed in the arc of the tunnel exit and bathed in sunlight. All the the good things that drew you forward all along, the other souls, the peace,  the version of you that you can finally let yourself see, the way others have all this time.

And you’ll think just goes to show you…

Even if you can’t finish the sentence, and you’re not sure how soon you’ll be able to. You know the answer is out there. You realize, in the light, that you can believe that much. Or you will, any day now.

You’ll let yourself believe that one day the answer will come to rest like a leaf inside you, next to the stone. And that each of them (at last) will weigh the same as the other.


{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

V-Grrrl at Compost Studios September 8, 2009 at 4:17 am

Speechless. Perfectly captures those moments when life feels as if it’s coming apart.

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Madge September 8, 2009 at 5:51 am

this is some of the best writing you’ve done and that is saying something. it is also breaking my heart. you know i love you. hold on.

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phd in yogurtry September 8, 2009 at 6:48 am

one day the answer will come. that thought has kept me going during some dark moments, too.

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tysdaddy September 8, 2009 at 8:01 am

For me, it’s more of a blank stare. Eyes open, but images not processed because of the weight of the memories bombarding the brain. And then you blink. Snap out of it. Back to reality . . .

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Daryl September 8, 2009 at 9:06 am

Been there …

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tysdaddy September 8, 2009 at 9:18 am

And thank you for your kind words over at Flutter’s. For the inspiration . . .

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Bennie September 8, 2009 at 9:57 am

Wow!!! Just brilliant. That’s all I got because I’m speechless.

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Kimberly September 8, 2009 at 10:50 am

WOW.

Fantastic piece of writing.

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fancy feet September 8, 2009 at 2:24 pm

“To trust the wind that carries away those wishes, and know that you might not get all the things you hope for, or enough of them, but there is something up ahead, waiting.”

That is beautifully put. I hold on to that something too.

What Kimberly said…WOW.

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maggie, dammit September 8, 2009 at 2:34 pm

The curved tunnel… how brilliant is that? I’m so sorry for your pain but it breeds such lovely words.

Thinking of you.

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flutter September 8, 2009 at 6:10 pm

You are the fastest train in this tunnel. You have the steam to get through, to that warm sun where you are compelled to shine.

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PAPA September 8, 2009 at 8:22 pm

For me, it’s like I’ll think I get it figured out, then I’m stuck again.

Maybe I need to be a jet figther instead of a train. 😉

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anymommy September 12, 2009 at 9:23 pm

I’ve missed you. I absolutely love the last two lines. Such hope and peace in that simple, brilliant description.

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JCK October 11, 2009 at 9:28 am

Beautiful and haunting, Jennifer. And now you’re already in the tunnel, and headed to the light.

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