A thousand of this

Shifting my water and coffee on the stand, observing the cat litter strewn about the place, wishing for nothing with hope in my heart. A slight breeze, the perfect temperature.

I was walking earlier and had an almost panicked reaction at one geographic point, near where a person from my past supposedly still may live. I find myself saying “a thousand of this” in my writing, and again as I passed this place I had the thought: “a thousand deficiencies.” She was there again in that moment, as were the other shes from my past (I came up with a list of four, though now I’m thinking of another). They were standing in a line, with their underestimations and casual less-than stares. What are these women doing here? They linger in my consciousness, the me that I judge within myself, the shame of imperfection and pause.

There’s a pushing forth that doesn’t happen in these moments, a curling-into-ball of self-scorn that reflects back the small humiliations over the years, the unmaskings, the embarrassment of blemish. The weakest parts: the mother longing to be the perfect balance of confidence and warmth, the professional with a keen eye and breezy mastery of all that surrounds, the multi-faceted lover whose past passions were many and wise.

So what do I do with these full drawers, the sudden bursts of cringe that accompany the life examined? My heart thumps, feeling closer to the surface, as it pushes me along. ♦

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