The small ache starts as a mere nuisance before spreading becoming a burning that I cannot stand. My eyelids are heavy and my stomach is churning, lurching like a ship amidst a storm. How did I get here? Night after night I push my senses, whip my weeping gray matter to soak up virtual caresses. Why? I ask myself. Why am I pushing, foraging so deep and denying myself the soothing kiss of sleep?
I sit at the wheel, a creature distorted and distant. It is easy to forget there are those that care about me. I am detached, a shadow of myself, a third person watching a person, watching another person drive. I twitch, my nerves stretched to the breaking point, joints aching, trembling, my head nods forward and the road fades before the adrenaline jump starts me all over again. The shock of it is exhilarating, a cattle prod against my spinal chord. No one knows exactly how far I can push myself to feel this high.
It’s a slow punishment. Night after night I escape into this virtual oblivion, drinking it up, denying my real life. I have such a wonderful life! When will I wake up and see this is just pure fluff and fantasy. It gets me nowhere. I am addicted.
I try to discern, to reach out and internalize my fears, my failing, my insecurities to try and figure out how I’ve gotten here. Is it the attention? Is it the simple ecstasy of having an affair no one knows about, is it the connections that I crave? These strands are converging, transforming into a multi-limbed beast that is grappling me down. I am suffocating in a self induced utopia of vapid synapses. My intellect bleeds out of me like a leaky faucet filling up someone else’s empty bucket. I am better than this.
Gregorian chants fade-in at the edges of my consciousness and grow in volume. I roll over. My bed is always empty. My man rarely shares it with me. Nearly every night he chooses instead to sleep on the couch with the TV blasting. Even when he does share the bed he has to roll over and go to his side. I despise it. I am the type that likes to be tangled in the heat of another person’s body. I am the type that likes to be touched, stroked, massaged and doted over. He’s aloof in all these ways. I slam my hand down on the snooze button. I sleep for another fifteen minutes. I am now late for work.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.