It's a gray afternoon in February. The North wind whips up the litter and it spins across the highway like a mini-tornado. I drive numbly past, oblivious to the cars and trucks around me. I hear a riff on the radio, a familiar tune that I haven't heard in a while. My heartstrings vibrate like those on the guitar enveloping the car. I turn it up so loud the bass vibrates my feet, and my soul. Eddie Vetter cries out the first few words as tears spill over my eyelids and down my cheeks. ..... "Unsealed on a porch, a letter sat, then you said ... "I wanna leave it again"..... Once I saw her on a beach of weathered sand, and on the beach I wanna leave it again"..... I search my purse for a tissue and only find one, partially used. No choice. It's not so much the words, it's the tune, the music, the sadness.
When I was young, I was told to quit crying. I was asked what I was smiling about and told nothing was funny. I was told not to be afraid; there's nothing to be afraid about. It's not ladylike to be so angry. You can't say those things. Limits, limits, limits everywhere I turned. Eventually, I learnt not to feel; not to let my emotions show. I cried in the silence of my room in my pillow where no one would hear. I laughed inside with a straight face.
I learned to experience my feelings through control; a control with a time delayed sensor. Sometimes it would be days or even months before I would allow myself to feel an emotion, long after the event that sparked the feeling was over. My spirit had become chained; locked away inside a human shell. Often it screamed from inside uncontrollably at the worst possible time; in a grocery store, at a movie, at a customer appointment or at a party. I've left many a grocery cart sitting half full of groceries in the middle of an aisle, uncontrollably laughing or crying or in a panic. I allowed myself to be pulled into horrid places by people with their own desires at heart.
In the last few years, I taught myself to feel the emotions so desperate to be felt. The medium I used was music with all it's sadness, anger, joy, love and fears. Guitar strings pulled my heartstrings, drum beats fueled my confidence, ivory keys tickled my fancies, bass bumped my hips and voices and harmonies healed my soul. My eyes opened to see through illusions that had spun a thick web around my face.
And, now I sit in the Doctor's office and listen to my Father ask about his diabetes medication and why it isn't working for him. "Why is this bruise still on my foot? And, why do you think it won't go away? And, yes I'll be going to chemotherapy tomorrow and I'm riding down with my Daughter to the mountains this weekend to pick up my Mother." How can he ask these questions when the bruise on his foot is a result of the chemotherapy? The diagnosis of terminal cancer is a fated ticket and knows he's going to die. Is he in denial? Does he not know the bruise on his foot is the least of his worries? Or has he acclimated to his disease and wants to live as much as he can until that day? Holding my emotions at bay, I don't ask because I don't know. I draw upon my old skills of how to crack a joke and say, "I've decided not to get diabetes. It's way to complicated for me to figure out." My Dad, the Doc and I laugh and outside I tell my Father I'll see him later tonight with a strong, caring voice.
And, as I get into my car I begin to shake. Turning onto the highway on a cold, gray February afternoon as the litter flies across my car I hear a song on the radio and the tears spill down my cheeks "real time." Play the song here.
As I fumble for a tissue in my purse, my sadness, sorrow and anger floods to the surface and I feel it with every inch of my being. And, Eddie Vetter cries out over the airwaves along with me and I feel peace and solace. I feel! I feel .... and, I think to myself, "I should remember to carry tissues with me now." .... "Ah yeah ... can you see them? Out on the porch, yeah, but they don't wave. I see them, round the front way, yeah ... And I know and I know I don't want to stay ... Make me cry...."
Copyright © Anna Laura Webb 2002-2012