Blank slate

22 mai 2010

You’re looking at a blank page. On your screen, the cursor’s blinking unrelentlessly, and the words won’t come. Like your life, the cursor is at a standstill.


A blank page, a blank slate, God knows you need one…


They hurt, the words that refuse to come to the light, the story in your head which won’t exist. The words of you and the pain you have in your heart and in your mind. The sentences which you are required to give birth to by pen, and then by voice. 


« Pfff… », you utter, « bloody twelve steps… »


Life was nothing but kind to you. It is you that turned your back on it.


Because there is nothing that has happened to you that you haven’t brought onto yourself, because everything that your life is today is and was a direct result of your own and sole choices. You decided to turn right instead of left*, you decided to ignore the signs. You decided, too, to run straight ahead when you should have stopped and sat and thought.

Because when it was time to choose, you never went for the harder choice, did you, but for the easiest. Instead of looking ahead, you looked at right now. Instead of accepting hardship, you looked for comfort and oblivion. And now, now that you’re sober and that you’re standing on the fuming ashes of what your life once was, you know that you have nothing to blame, and no one else but you.


If only you could have a drink, writing would be a lot easier… 

That’s exactly the point, isn’t it…


I see you sitting on a stool in front of my computer. I see your childish and stubborn eyes grow from light grey to black. It is something that you have to do, it is something that you can do, but that you won’t. These words, if they exist… then everything becomes true, your last hiding place will dissolve in ink, the salt you brought in our lives, the tears of rage and desperation, the tears of fright and worry we shed on your behalf will turn into a dark rain of words and ink.


I could help you I guess. I could come out of the hallway into the light and sit on the empty stool next to yours. I could offer you tea and a chat and my presence. But like you, I’m at a standstill. I cannot move forward, and it is too painful to look back. It is too painful, the damage on your children, the rift I feel today between you and me. Your husband only lets you see your daughters in my home, in the safe presence of my husband and I. As I see you struggling and fighting against a blank screen, I see you disrupting our mother’s funeral, I see you forgetting your children in a train station, I see you rolling out of a taxi cab comatose and beaten up. 


I see you and I don’t understand. We were raised right, as the saying goes. We were raised the same. In joyful grey, our parents didn’t have much, but everything they had they gave it to us. I don’t understand how for you this could not be enough… I don’t understand but I know that I will have to. Because in spite of everything, you are still my sister. 


Because in spite of everything, I see that you are struggling, which means that you are trying. You’re doing the steps, you’re trying your damnedest to get your life back to something close to order. Because I see the immense love and sadness in your eyes when you hold your girls. 


Maybe it’s not so hard after all, maybe I can take a small step towards you. I am still standing in my hallway and the light is still scarce. But my voice somehow finds its way towards you. 


« You should start with our cat », I hear myself say « God knows that piece of meat was mean and ugly ».


You’re startled and you look up. This look, your eyes, I could cry. You manage a thin smile as you say : « Boy did we hate that cat! That’s a good start, thanks. » 



* sorry, private joke :)


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