You wake up in the morning, you know you’re not feeling quite right. Call in sick. You’re learning to take care of yourself. You’re reading the Internet, you read that a TV reality show is going to be filming in your hometown. You know people connected to it. Your agency has some TV clients. You’ve done work for reality TV clients. You leave three voicemails at the production company. You write notes, first in pen and then in yellow highlighter and then in green and orange and pink, you write notes on a pizza box. You bring the pizza box into the bathroom in case they call back while you’re in the shower. You can get this account, and you can get it for the agency and they’ll give you a raise or you can get it for yourself and tell the agency to go fuck themselves. You call your boss on his office phone but you hang up before he answers. You call the production company again, and the receptionist disconnects you while putting you through and you know the call wasn’t dropped by accident. You stuff the pizza box as far into the recycling bin as you can and you never tell your wife about it. You stare at the TV on mute, all the way through Erin Brockovich on cable, and you go to sleep and you tell your wife that you’ve been in bed all day when she gets home.
You’re sitting on the train, going to meet a friend’s baby for the first time, and you’re playing a game on your phone and you know that this game is the only thing in life that you’re good at, this little bird jumping from island to island, flying only on gravity and momentum, up and down these slopes, its little limbs nothing that can make it fly.
Someday, everyone who would mourn you will themselves be mourned, and a few decades are a blink of an eye in the scope of all of time and space, and you’re not particularly sad or upset or anything, you wouldn’t say you’re depressed, even, but you’ve got a bunch of full bottles of pills and at least a good few glasses’ worth of gin. The roof is just two floors up, and, if you lock yourself out, your resolve will come back even if it goes. It’s not that you want to and it’s not that you can’t take things anymore, it’s – there’s that guy, right, who climbed Everest and people asked why, and he just said because it was there.
Stay in bed. Stay in bed. You’ll fall asleep and you’ll wake up again.
You’ve got the flu, you take flu medicine. You stay in bed and eat soup. You’ve got cancer, you go through chemo and you fight and you’re a survivor. You’ve got a broken leg, you get a cast, you walk on crutches.
Nobody’s going to sign your cast, nobody’s going to bring you casserole. Your coworkers won’t all sign a GET WELL SOON card with Snoopy on it or something. People will say you’re not trying hard enough, and that’s the people who know.
Make yourself casserole. Sign your own cast. We all want to run too soon on our broken legs.
Brent Rydin lives and works in Boston. He started and runs a litmag called Wyvern Lit, and has writing published or forthcoming in Pithead Chapel, The Island Review, Cartridge Lit., WhiskeyPaper, and CHEAP POP. He tweets at @brntrydn and has a website with not very much stuff on it at all at brntrydn.com.