On winter nights, the world seems to pause as if she were a weary maid stumbling to a stop to catch her breath in the midst of some court dance. Tonight, the sky is a darkened shroud, studded with sharp points of bright white light. He lies sleeping, but I am not tired. Weary as the maid, perhaps, but not yet ready for sleeping.
I fear I’ve left this narrative too long. The words are coming only in fits and starts. I think, I type, I pause, I think, I pause, I think some more. Uncertainty is an old friend, one of those who have grown different than you remember and yet you see them so often that you couldn’t possibly refuse to let them in… Perhaps I’ll have the time to do this more often now. Unemployment becomes the writer, starvation gives sweet sauce for the thought of the mind—maybe it was that way in long years past, but I have mouths to feed.
Two mouths to feed, him and me, and one artist in the family is quite enough to keep us on the edge of poverty. I believe in his dreams. I do. I hold them tight in the night, and on the days when I must do things like balance check books. Sadly, though, I must deal with the reality of here and now much too often for my mind. Bills to be paid, and Peter, and even Paul must have his due too eventually. It is my responsibility, I fear: mine and mine alone.
Sometimes I dread it is too much, and I wonder what happened to the girl that used to be so care free. Did she ever exist, or is that just a pleasant echo in my mind? The cares of youth mean but little once they have passed. Will these cares pass too?
I tell myself that they must. They must. I need to wait, and work hard, and be disciplined. Is it my duty to sacrifice, and sacrifice? Is it my arrogance to believe that I am sacrificing, after all? My hubris in action, my pride in all the work I’ve done overshadowed by that feeling of being ill compensated for the work. And now, what work is to be done? There is none.
Patience is the hardest part. Waiting and wondering, hoping for a call returned from someone who cares naught for your hopes and dreams. I know that I am just a number to them, a statistic on some recruiter’s list of prospects. I would rail at the injustice of it all, except.
Excepting that there are worse things in the world. There are women being raped and butchered, their children starving in the darkness, alone. There are bombs in the desert, man killing man. Such is our history, the legacy of mankind. Thus I think it must always be. It is in our imperfect nature: a flaw in our design. Perhaps our blueprints were misread. More likely that we were meant to be this way, for some purpose unknown to our kind.
I am lucky; so very lucky, to have been born in this country, to be living in this time. Fortunate to have the education I’ve had; I am privileged to have the opportunities that I have. In sparse moments that have come too often lately, I forget. I am blessed to have found love and companionship after a mere quarter of a century, when some people in this world never find it at all.
What is a job to these things? What is a steady paycheck compared to life and love, health and safety? Perhaps I am an ungrateful wretch after all. But I try not to forget…