I saw The Hunger Games last week. And thought about it constantly. And so in the past two days I re-read the three book series. I wish I could tell you I did that because the story is so compelling. The story IS compelling - but that's not the reason I devoured them again. It's because I find myself freezing up again - I'm retreating from the world again.
Right after Cliff's conviction, I found it difficult to do much - eat, sleep, talk. I was dazed by tragedy, learning the customs and language of the unwelcome new world I was a part of. I read post-apocalyptic novels like they held lottery numbers or secret treasure locations. I neglected laundry, dishes, the needful cleaning of my house. I ignored the reality I inhabited and retreated to one I could cope with.
I'm doing it again. Nothing new has happened. No new tragedy has unfolded. Just the relentless, unending nature of this tragedy - everyday is still a day where I am the wronged wife of a convicted sex-offender, the single mother who will not feel the gentle touch of a lover till my son is old enough to experience it as well. This ever present pain is driving me down into darkness again, freezing my heart to protect it from the ripping reality I live. I hate it, but I seem unable to stop my emotional retreat - in times like now I even lose the ability to care about my own frozen heart. I take care of my son, only opening up the well of my heart to love him, and then shut down again, afraid of what it would cost me to feel ALL the time.
During these moments of psychic retreat is when I'm most dangerously able to tell the truth to people. The question of "how are you" is like a snare trap, and I'm almost powerless to stop the wrenching answer:
I am wretched.
I am betrayed.
I am lonely.
I am afraid.
I am so angry I feel as if I could scream until time stopped.
I know that this is just a rising crest of the grief that I live with. I know that I will unfreeze (if not totally) again and find the strength to eat more than just cereal, to vacuum my house, to finish the laundry, to care about anyone. But now?
Now I'm cold and dark.
Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy.