Words are comfort, at times flooding in my brain, at times freezing like ice. At times the words leave my fingers softly and leave my mouth not at all: a catatonic state metered by inspiration and textually derived comfort. Words, my lucid and tractable form of control, a way of voicing my pains without a known audience, a hope of reaching someone, a fear of the known and concrete.
I live in dreams, wandering around the interconnected network of ideas known as human thought, creativity blossoming along neural connections, flowers along vines of practicality and a priori knowledge, as well as the darker branches of personal experience, more murky, blurred and ever changing. Words are a comfort.
Anxiety is not. Shaking hands over a thriving heart, each pulse feeling like a rib drum against your chest. My hands flutter and weaken. My grip loosens. My body is a betrayal. My mind is a garden.
Scene: a woman steps off an elevator with two men. Each have a hand on her back. She stumbles forward, laughing. They guide her down the hallway. Exchanged looks solid in concern, uneasiness settles between my friends and I. Heart corroding, feet unfeeling, I leave the comfort of the Commons to find the girl. The guys are still with, supporting her as she stands in front of the sink, assumably holding back the bile in her throat. My friends and I agree that I go get the RA. My hands are rattling, my words jumble. Sense was not the order of my words, but my message was enough. She agreed to check it out. Walking back to my friends, one says, “you did what you can do.” My shoulders tense. I hate that phrase with a conviction of soul. If I were in that situation I would want someone to do more, to stand by until the men leave, someone to stay close by and make sure I’m medically okay. I would want more. I think we excuse ourselves too easily. We’re complacent, self-forgiving. I hate it. I don’t subscribe to the belief that there is a limit to what we could do.
The men walk back and leave my floor. My friend assures me that the situation is now solved. The RA comes back and gives me the thumbs up, but still my head is ringing. She isn’t stable. She couldn’t seem to stand by herself. How do I know she has someone to watch out for her. I don’t speak. I respond in nods. My vision blurs. I hold my phone in my hands, scrolling through social media, but my feed ends quickly. Empathy is pain. I want to help more. I want to do more.
But instead all I can do is pen everything I am feeling and hope it is somehow enough.