when love begins to fade behind her eyes
and instead of soft words, sighs
when reaching for her hand, nothing is there
but empty air
when loneliness echoes on freshly built walls
between the two
when silences settle the arguments
and plans fall through
when shoulders grow cold and pillows grow damp
and hearts forget bliss
when the lust becomes loathing
without one last kiss
Life is hard. Ah, that old prosaism. It’s true, though no one will ever understand its extent. How can we? Every event, every action, every happening; we think that wasn’t so bad or at least I survived or it can’t get any worse.
Sometimes it can. Sometimes it does.
People are unfathomable. Why do we do the things we do? Why has “integrity” become a hot buzzword in businessland instead of an honest-to-goodness value that we teach our children? What happened to the concept of honor?
I know, I know that good people exist in this world. I know that good things happen. I believe in the power of random acts of kindness. I know firsthand the feeling of warmth that comes from simply being nice.
I also know the dreamlike feeling of metaphorically running in quicksand. I know the pain and confusion and emptiness of broken trust. I know the staticky sound of radio silence in my head when it seems that the whole world is against me.
I know that the depths of madness into which life can spiral are infinite.
Still, I am grateful. I am thankful not to know the next bump in the road, not to know when it’s a cliff instead of a pothole. Not to know when my world is ending.
I have never felt such empathy for poor Cassandra, burdened with her foreknowledge, as trusted as the boy who cried wolf. In comparison, Sisyphus had it easy. Oh, those ancient Greeks. Such an understanding of the human condition.
How bad can it get?
Never ask. Never. Life will take your question as a challenge. You do not have the patience of Job.
We all have a point of despair. Every time that point is reached, we cry, we break, we die a little inside. Every time the wound heals, that point is pushed a little farther back. And like a bone is stronger in the place it once was broken, we can take a little more. We made it through the last one, we can make it through this one. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.
Until that strength becomes the burden. Life is hard, but surviving the tragedies can bring that pervasive pill of bitterness, the black hole that sucks the joy from everyday living.
Why bother to trust again? Why bother to love again? Why bother to try again? It will all end badly; it always does.
But it doesn’t. Everything does not turn to ashes, and even from ashes, a phoenix may rise.
Life is hard.
There is no shame in despair. There is no shame in surrender. But one decision is not the right decision for us all.
There is no shame in fighting for truth and honor and justice. There is no shame in trying to be strong.
There is no shame in surviving.
The shame lies in the heart of the liar.