Caught in Between Two Walls
by Manuel A. López
The past few weeks have been somewhat of a challenge. I have been feeling weird to say the least. Dense and tired, aside from this inexplicable state spiritually has made it twice as hard to get on with my daily routine. I have tried all sorts of things, and read galore to ease the uneasiness I have been under. From Maria Elena Cruz Varela’s poetry book, El ángel agotado, to Peggy Guggenheim’s autobiography, Confessions of an Art Addict, I have drowned myself in books looking for some sort of remedy.
I have taken refuge as well in my room at the top. In a roller coaster type of way, I have traveled from my bed to the sofa, and played musical chairs with all the dining room chairs, and gone back to bed. However, the bathroom is a great hideaway for me, with tons of magazines and books around my throne, in the toilet. There’s this private feeling about my toilet, which I have never experienced before in any other place I’ve lived in the past. It is enclosed between two walls and dark, making it a great place to hide during a hurricane; to hide from anyone, including oneself. On my rounds between the sofa and its pinkish warmth, and the stoicism of my gilded chairs, I keep coming back to the toilet. I sit, and wander away, thoughts hunting me, images taking over, people’s faces, comments in Facebook and various blogs not worth mentioning. Simply, I hide in between these walls, and only the occasional ring of the phone makes me realize that I am on borrowed time. I hardly ever answer, not wanting to loose this magical state I am in. Sometime’s I wonder if on the other side of the wall, my neighbor realizes in what intricate way I live emotionally. Actually, I wonder if most people realize how very hard it is for me to breathe, to carry on with life on a daily basis. I am what you would call The Great Pretender, even pretending to myself that I am content with being me. I am not ungrateful for everything that it is positive in my life, I simply have what a friend calls problemas existenciales, and she has them too. It even sounds professional, a medical diagnostic; but after almost 42 years of having them, I am simply tired.
There are days, and days, and after being away for the weekend, I came back a bit lighter. It was a weird weekend though. Walking thru the streets of St. Augustine one feels the presence of all these lost souls; spirits who roam the city still battling with their deaths after 400 years or more. The energy there, at least for me was pretty strong, and at times a cloud of sadness would cover me, and make me shiver. I drove at night thru the residential streets, not knowing where I was heading, simply turning where it felt interesting, darkness reigning from block to block. These old homes with great character, and lovely facades, extremely appealing but with total solitude inside; occasionally a lonely light bulb in an upstairs bedroom as the only sign of someone being there.
During the day, it was much easier to cope with this strange air about the city. The sea, and the grass that rose from its shore, the humming of birds, the trees, and its hanging moss, and the many lizards that showed their tongues at us made it bearable, and enjoyable. However, I still think it is a strange city, even with the hoards of tourists, and the never-ending trolleys. As I drove away, although I was with friends, and not alone the entire time, I felt a relief. I have enough with my own demons to have to keep fighting spirits I do not want to know.
Back at home Monday night, returning to my own spirits, occasional lost souls that appear at my front door, and after taking a long, warm shower to release the tension, the long driving, and remove the dust off my shoulders, I was somewhat happy, yes… happy that I had a place that welcomed me, rescued me, and dealt peacefully, and dedicated to my eccentricities, and occasional outburst.
Life is about putting on Band-Aids here and there to cover the wounds, taking a Tylenol to ease the headaches, and to find some kind of a temporary relief to these existential issues someone like me deals with. I am constantly taking small doses of medications to relief my anxiety, to calm my demons, to nurture myself a little, and to try to keep my sanity somewhat intact. Listening to Nina Simone, reading everything that means something to me, going to a show, having passionate sex once in a while, are a few of those medications. Going to St. Augustine this past weekend, was also a good remedy; since I was in good company, made new discoveries, ate well, and had plenty of laughs, despite its invisible, yet palpable population.
I am now back to face reality and to find another patch to put on, another medication to take, until my next incentive… until my next getaway…But until then, I will keep myself in hiding, sitting in my toilet, between the two walls, sheltering myself from the many demons and myself.