stop.

It’s difficult to stop when you’ve never stopped, hard to slow the thinking down in a brain that jumps ahead, weaving in the traffic of collective thoughts in any room; finding the way over and under the subtext of a shrugged shoulder, an inflection in a voice that blames and then denies equally, the sore toothed words complete before they are taken back. The target already hit, the beginning of the holding of conflict is also the middle and end, once held the grip seems relentless. There is no thrown word that can be taken back, I caught them well before you reared your hand.

If I let them go, I wonder if those words would fall at the end of the cord they are tethered to, lying in a pattern on a wooden floor showing where the tossed phrase went out of bounds, the point scored, a quiet technical foul. Would I step over them, the doors clicking behind me on the noise of the game ringing in ears so tired of hands held over them.

I’d like to think I would. I have spent years outside other peoples gathered houses, standing in the cul-de-sac to best see the moving between rooms, the leaving, the coming back; turning in those circular drives to get a clearer view. Now, when the days are getting a few minutes longer, the light is melting to show a wintered road to my own yellow lit window.

It’s hard to stop when I’m just trying to do other things, instead of fewer things, saying different words instead of fewer sentences, watching different fevered screens instead of the off white paper of a book I own or borrow. The trick it seems is not to find varied ways to cope, but live with less need to recover.

Creating a life from the morning forward holds unfamiliar choices that do not need a reason. It’s enough to just be doing it differently. When you have lived so far away from yourself, this is a radical relocation. To not live in the middle of so many someone else’s neighborhoods, but to live a day that begins and ends in your own small lovely home.

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