Stripping bare and taking stock of your life is never easy. But it becomes essential after the day finally comes when you nearly cause your own death. Accidentally this time, and no less a shock after you've tried to end it on purpose in various ways, both passive and aggressive, many times over the past 20 years.
Disconnected, your head a flurry of thoughts and fear, you found yourself longing for a simpler life, one that wasn't so weighted with worry, one that wasn't so fucking ugly. You'd been putting all your energy into making it less so, but on this particular day you just wished you could remember what it was like not to try at all.
The afternoon was unseasonably sunny, and you walked home taking no notice of the world around you, other than how bright it was. You walked into the house, turned on the faucet, and waited an eternity for the bathtub to fill. The flu was coming on and you knew you'd have to face it without the usual 50-proof cold medicine people use to blot out the symptoms, because it would only send you back into a sickness that ran much deeper. You also knew the bath would make liquid any emotions that hadn't yet been dealt with in the easygoing manner with which you were attempting to process things. Stripped bare, you dropped like a stone into the plain, hot water and laid your forehead against the side of the porcelain. In an instant, night fell even as the sun still shone, and the sky had one hundred shades of blue to pass through before it became black.
The New Year's Newness Ends played on the boom box shoved recklessly in the corner. It was the one thing you'd managed to grab off the desk before shuffling home in what could only be described as aimless determination. This was the first time you'd listened to the new disc by Bedhead's Kadane brothers, and maybe if you'd taken the time to consider the title you would have saved it for a less crushing day. But you hadn't even looked at it.
"Caring and forgiving aren't the same. I can see the causes and assign the blame. As soon as I stop worrying I'm okay. And all this happens in a half a day." The water steamed, but the surface was cool around your shoulders and you thought ahead to a time when everything would be back in order. Your head throbbed as the fever lowered like a thick velvet curtain, along with the knowledge that even in a simple life, order can never really be had. "Seeing and believing aren't the same, 'cause when I see you I don't believe you're to blame." Cursed with the human limitations of a long-term memory, it would be a while before you'd stop perceiving yourself in the physical posture of a dog who knows she's misbehaved and is now stuck to the spot, waiting for the inevitable punishment.
Sunk like that stone in the bathtub on a sunny afternoon that now offered no light, you closed your eyes and melted to the oddly calming rigidness of the obviously schooled, forthright drumming. The New Year offered more words about regret, repeating and returning, and the sensation of being trapped when one is young. Release, sleep, and again, darkness. "It's so dark I can't even see how all the colors turned to grays. It's so dark I can't even see if I'm here anyway. There is nothing to be but as distracted as you can be. And I can't lose myself in so much empty space. I know more than I want to and I don't need anymore. What can I give in exchange for the simple life?" The tears didn't come. Instead, a long, heavy sigh parted your lips and escaped from deep within your lungs. It was a moment or two, until your chest jumped with purpose, before you realized that the hissing sound emanated from your body rather than the CD. "I elude these things if I lose them again... this is what happens when the newness ends." On that very day, the newness ended and a simple life would not be had just yet.
But night came during the day, and when you finally opened your eyes, the hundreds of colors the sky has to go through before it turns black were awaiting.