I walked to the park today on my own. I needed fresh air, or maybe just to be outdoors. I sat on a bench and watched people pass by, trying to imagine what their stories might be. I played a little game where I would try to make up their stories as they walked past. It made me feel a little less lonely sitting by myself. I was so completely caught up in my thoughts that I had become oblivious to the company I had on the bench. I hadn’t noticed him there when I sat down. It was a little awkward, I tried not to make eye contact.
He moved in a little closer. I felt my personal space boundaries blurring with how close we were to each other. So, I did what I thought was the next best thing and introduced myself.
He looked so happy that someone had decided to speak to him. We fell so easily into conversation, like old friends would. Every heart-breaking moment, disappointment, moments of fury and anything that I felt was so heavy that it weighed on every fibre of my being unleashed onto my newfound friend, who seemed to revel in listening to my stories. By this time, we had walked away from the park bench and towards my house. I looked down to find him holding my hand. How did we go from complete strangers to hand-holding type of friends? It scared me a little with how quickly this had progressed.
We’re at my front door now. Do I invite him in? How do these things go? I’ve never been in this situation before.
It seems I didn’t have to make the decision myself. He invited himself in anyway.
His presence filled my entire house as soon as we stepped into the living room. It was as if he was always meant to be here. I guess I better get used to having him here now. After all, I did invite him in, or did I? We both settle in. Me pretending like I had a choice and my new friend knowing that all the choices were now in his hands.
I force my eyes open and stare at the yellowing ceiling above me. I notice there’s a hairline crack in the plaster, right by the corner. So thin that it could be mistaken for an abandoned spiderweb. My eyelids feel like sandpaper and I struggle to keep them open. A smell of sick lingers in the room. There’s a metallic taste on the tip of my tongue and my throat feels raw as I try to swallow. I open my mouth to call out for help, but no sound comes out and besides, who would hear me anyway?
I force myself to sit up as I try to recall how I had ended up here on my bathroom floor.
I remember opening my medicine cabinet and taking every pill inside to try to dull the pain that knifed my chest every morning as I awoke.
I could hear a voice in my head telling me, the Black Dog has turned up again. As if to imply that I had invited him into my home. An invitation that had set me spiralling into a vortex of forgotten dark trauma.
I know now that the Black Dog is not my friend and I have to try to stop feeding him.
But I can’t.
Who else can I be if not angry and sad all the time?