I am afraid I am getting used to this cold blanket. When I am alone, it is easier to notice its chills on my skin, gluing itself to the bareness that I can’t cover up no matter how hard I try. It is easier to remember its presence on my body, laying heavy, as if trying to take root in my soul and claim its residence there for life. It is harder to shake off, to shed it like a snake’s skin, while I ooze out into the wild sun again, light and free and wispy… the way things used to be.
When I am alone, this blanket is my friend and my enemy. It has been on me for so long, growing heavier and heavier, like lead on steel. It grinds against me, leaving marks that become scars on my humanity. The marks that stay over the passing years. It hurts, oh my god, what the fresh hell is that it hurts so badly? Aren’t blankets supposed to be warm, cozy, fuzzy?
When I am alone, this blanket feels like the burden that it is meant to be. It is familiar, that is true. This familiar burden that came along every so often, and reminds me that it is still there, just sometimes tucked away in the closet and forgotten. But there are always fresh reasons to wear this cold, damp blanket again.
It’s old, and raggedy. Yet, it feels familiar and heavier with each step. It is a childhood friend… the friend you thought you shed when you left home. It is the friend you were ashamed of… the one that called you names behind your back and the one that reminded you of your weaknesses. The one that doesn’t let bygones be bygones. The one that doesn’t let go of you. The one that nags and nudges. And yet, the familiarity of this blanket on you feels so familiar, it is too hard to shake off.
When I am not alone, this cold blanket because a little lighter to the touch, though still heavy. I keep distracted with tasks, and logistics, and lunches and work. Sometimes, if someone is looking closely enough, they can see that I’m wrapped in this cold, damp blanket while trying to smile, or converse, or drink my hot chocolate. Someone would ask me, “Hey, why do you have that on?” Most of the time, I frantically search for the brave face I know how to put on, the mask that makes everyone else feel comforted that they don’t have to comfort me.
“Oh, this old thing? It’s okay. It’s not that big of a deal. I’ll take it off soon.”
This blanket is heavy today. Bricks. I am carrying around a blanket made of bricks. Steel. Iron. Lead. It’s poisonous to me, but I can’t let it go. I don’t know how. It is hard. This blanket.
This grief. This blanket is grief.