I’m far better at keeping doors closed than I used to be. When I was younger every scab was picked, every skein was unravelled, every grenade unpinned. Now I convince myself that I am untouchable, invincible, impossible to penetrate, disinterested in matters of the heart. I am Cleopatra, Joan of Arc and Marie Curie all rolled into one. Mentally if not physically. I have yearnings, yes, but they are subjugated to my higher self. This higher un-Pennyish self rides on a plain of self-sufficiency, uncluttered by emotional needs. The problem arises when the door is opened. First, just a little crack. Hold the handle, softly and slowly push it down and then, very slowly, gently, ease it open. A glimmer of light shows through, gently push the door closed again, listen for the click that let’s you know all is safe. Then continue as before. But you feel restless. Something is calling, something wants to pull you out if the stupor. You refuse. You say, I am fine this way. Behind the closed door. But you do not exist in a vacuum. Others prod and poke at you. Someone else opens the door. I am living behind this door, happy in my bubble of constructed purpose. A head peers around the door. I should tell it to leave. But I don’t.
I remember that day. It was 15 years ago. I sat in the chair opposite the doctor. Deurmekaar. Befuddled. Feeling woozy. The night before I’d had a meltdown. In despair, I foresaw a loveless future. A treadmill of chores with no relief. Living on the margins. Alone.
Who is this man to judge me now? This doctor in his chair of churlishness. Looking down on me with his curled lip. At the time, I did not care. But now I think, who were you to criticise me for my actions? You did not utter one word of kindness; did not even think to ask why I did it? Ironically, I had abandoned my actions halfway. Deliberately.
So he was wrong anyway.
I can only leave when enough issues have been resolved.
I cannot leave when crisis has precipitated the leaving.
I am mired in quicksand.
I am sucked in
I rebel against this unfairness
I have to fight it,
prove the rectitude of my actions,
gnaw away at that bone until I’m convinced there is not even a shred of meat left
not a shred!
It is as if I cannot face the inevitable unless it is shoved in my face
Every stone must first be unturned.
Even if I know what lies beneath the stone
I have to lift it, look closely, dig around in the murk
emotion disguises itself as logic.
Inspector Clousseau is on the scene
investigates the situation
collates the evidence and then,
after sifting and considering it, processes this and provides a report.
This despite the smoking gun held in the hand of the accused as he crouches over his victim, triumphant yet defeated.