It’s raining outside. 1:51 a.m. I can’t see the rain. But I can hear it against the leaves behind the building next door. I can hear the roar of tires grow from a whisper as treads whoosh water on the pavement into gutters.
I shouldn’t be up this late. Coughing away. But I asked for it. All of it. The sound of the streets. The independence. The late nights. The minimalistic living. So the price I pay is a sore knee from walking three flights of stairs ad nauseum. Ad kneeseum? And the cold.
If my mother knew I were sick right now, she’d say, “Ay, Veneranda, what did you do?” And then she would walk me back through my days looking for hidden symbols to disambiguate and find fault in my actions.
“You never wear a coat.”
“You don’t wash your hands.”
“You have no common sense.”
Maybe, but I can only rely on the things I know how to do. At some point, I had to put on my big girl panties and go out into the world. To remain home, infantilized and blamed for things I couldn’t control, to not be recognized for the intricate, complicated, special person I was, to never be validated for the success I achieved, should never have been an option. I should have left much sooner. But I was choked in the hands of a colossus. And I was told to make do with the shadows cast upon a wall by a fire I might never have known existed. But I saw fire and I wanted truth.
So, here I am. Now it is 2:02 a.m. The cars are continuous, but not frequent. The refrigerator slowly hums, keeping groceries I have bought cool. And I am drinking a cough remedy I found online. Simmered Coke and ginger with a shot of rum. I had to force myself out of a drugged-induced sleep to get to this point. My choices were two-fold: remain in bed and hope that I’d fall back asleep, miserable but horizontal; or make something to drink and hope to feel better, even if awake at what is now 2:05 a.m. The former was a fool’s errand. The latter, uncomfortable and cumbersome, but alleviating.
I’ve got to write a Post-It to myself…always choose the latter.
¡Survive, Goddamit! Survive.