Bad news at work, end of the day, just enough to send me over. Five days of poor sleep, rattled nerves, and percolating depression, and this latest disappointment is one I cannot handle with grace.
I'm supposed to meet Pooka in the evening, but I have to cancel. The last call I make before leaving the office.
"Are you okay?" she asks.
"No." I can't really talk. I'm about to unravel (such a melodramatic way of putting it, but that's what it's like, parts of me coming loose and slipping away).
Outside, I walk just far enough away, and sob into the metal façade of a building. I try to hide from passersby, crying into the phone, telling Mom I need to come home; I need to call in sick tomorrow. I call my father and he tells me to calm down in a severe tone of voice, which makes me cry harder, which makes him more hostile.
"You can't miss work tomorrow. You're being unprofessional," he says.
"You don't want to help me, don't help me," I hang up on him.
I am sick, I wanted to explain. This is worse than sick.
I walk to the subway station, hating all the people everywhere. You can't find an empty corner in Manhattan. Maudlin song lyrics cross my brain like ticker tape. They all contain the word "never."
On the train I'm lucky enough to get a seat during rush hour. Small mercies. I put my head back, close my eyes, try not to think, but I can't. I cry slow tears, through shut eyes, try to control them, but they keep coming. I don't have the energy to be embarrassed, if anyone even notices.
I want to feel some kind of minor accomplishment, so I pick up my dry cleaning on the way home, pack a small suitcase, and take out the trash. I call a car service and a few minutes later I'm being driven to my mother's place. More tears. I can stop them, but only for a few minutes. My head is pounding.
"I'm not well," I tell Mom.
She leaves work early. Makes me dinner. Opens a bottle of wine. Sits with me until I mellow out some. Reminds me that's how things usually go for me: all the bad things, all at once, then something better appears and it all turns around. When she says it, I believe her.
I appreciate everyone's concern. One of the things I hate about depression is its self-indulgent nature. Being this low doesn't leave room for anything or anyone else. I hate it, but there's nothing I can do. I tried to keep it at bay, but I couldn't. Sometimes it needs to run its course.
I'm not okay, but I'm somewhere safe.