What happens, the Day After? The hero rides off into the sunset, the lovers kiss, the bereft sinks to the floor weeping, the league clinks goblets in a jubilant huzzah! What then? No one really cares about that bit, I suppose because we can all experience the mundane for ourselves, and don’t often find such things interesting. The hero must stop sometime to eat, to water her horse, the lovers must blow their noses or fart; the league must finish their meal, shake hands, and swear to keep in touch, as they each turn in a separate direction for home.
And the bereft? Well, her sobs eventually subside, she splashes water on her face, patting her swollen eyes gently, makes their, now her, bed while trying not to actually look at it (quite difficult), and eats tasteless food. Suddenly the rote question of every grocery clerk, salesgirl, and librarian is perverse. How is she today? How is her day going? Frightened and alone, thanks… Terrified and very sad, think we’ll get some rain … Confused, tired, angry, scared. How are you?
Did I watch while my family was massacred in a politically fueled genocide? No. Do I have a roof over my head and food to eat? For now, yes. Can I walk to a grocery and back to my domicile, reasonably secure in the belief that I can do so without fear of death? I suppose so, yes, though I’d rather not think too long on that one … So, in the grand scheme, my fortune does not go unnoticed by me. Just to be clear.
That being said, every being is entitled to experience their emotional reactions to experiences in whatever intensity and for whatever duration their bodies/minds/hearts deem necessary.
I lost my job, just when I was preparing to leave the country for that job. I lost my domicile, on the same day that I lost my job. Neither of these things were misplaced, in case you are the literal type. My position ceased to exist and my rental contract ran its course. It was just … a gift from the universe that both happened on the same day.
I discovered that, barring extensive and invasive and delicate surgery, the likelihood of my being able to bear children is about 0%. Friends, people who purported themselves as friends, suddenly couldn’t be reached for comment, once my high-status governmental position disappeared.
I broke up with my boyfriend, who is also a really great friend, who also promptly left the country.
And my birthday is on Thursday.
I can scream, right? A nice scream? Wallowing turned out to be less fun than Cameron Diaz/How I Met Your Mother/and every single Sophie Kinsella novel would have you believe. Hiding under the duvet while devouring pints of fill-in-the-blank is less fun when there isn’t a wealthy British friend on their way to rescue you from yourself with Manolo Blahniks in one hand, and some reprobate cousin on speeddial who happens to look like Alexander Skaarsgard.
You know, it really did take ovaries of steel for Lizzy to turn down Mr. Collins. He wasn’t wrong, 18th century douchebag that he was, when he said that she could by no means be assured that another such offer would come along. However, Lizzy could afford to be brave, a little fact we like to forget in the grand fantasy. She didn’t have to apply for unemployment, purchase her own (cheap) groceries and then find ways to economize in their cooking, or go through any one of her travails alone. Most importantly, she did not do any of it alone.
After a lifetime of going it alone I am stunned to discover how fucking painful it is to do so, once one has become accustomed to having support. I had no idea support would be so incredibly lovely and soothing, nor how utterly devastating it would be when it was snatched away. Why on earth did we ever leave the cave? Having people/persons to rely upon makes everything digestible, alone it feels like the trash compactor scene from Star Wars.
So, what now?