On the last day of the first week I moved in, I saw a bird in the front yard. She was unnaturally still, her brown body half-blended into the half-brown grass. I walked toward her, and she responded by trying to fly in the opposite direction.
She hit the side of the house, unable to get any real air. I took another step and she flew into the vinyl siding again before settling down. Her brown body camouflaged by the brown grass that doesn’t get much sun at the base, the shadows, of the house.
I walked to the front porch and told my roommate, who suggested to get a box and so I emptied one of the many unpacked boxes of books, cushioned the bottom with too many paper towels, and he ushered her in. She sat in that box all night until the animal rescue center opened the next day.
It felt good to do good.
I’m not having a great time right now and I don’t know how to deal with that. I can understand depression. I can reconcile with the knowledge that there is nothing I can do in that mindset but wait and hope and try my damnedest to remind myself of the good things in my life. But mostly I wait.
It’s been awhile since I’ve felt downtrodden in that way.
I’m sad, man. I’m really fucking sad and I don’t know how to deal with that. There is a space in my chest where my heart resides and it has ached for a fucking week, even though I know there’s nothing there but a beating muscular organ. I can’t reason with my body, no matter how much time I spend on reminding myself that you can’t feel sad there. Not there. That doesn’t make sense.
Depression lays you out for days, weeks, months. You lie in bed and wait. You wait. You wait. You wait. Sadness is specific — there’s a reason it’s there. There is no waiting. Something has to be fixed. I’m not in the position to fix what’s making me sad.
I feel guilty. Everyone is telling me it’s not my fault. I know it’s not my fault. I don’t know how to not feel guilty. I feel guilty. I feel sad. I don’t know how to fix this. I don’t know how to do anything but wait. I don’t know how to fix this. I don’t know how to fix this.
We received a postcard two weeks after he dropped the bird off at the animal rescue center. In a neat and tidy hybrid of print and script, we were informed that the Mourning Dove didn’t make it. “Thank you for trying.”
On the drive back from work today When Doves Cry came on the radio. I don’t think The Artist Formally Known as the Artist Formally Known as Prince ever rescued a Mourning Dove, so I guess I can’t blame him for not knowing that doves don’t cry, even when their wing is broken. Even when they’re dying.
I’m happy here. I’m really fucking sad, but I have enough wits about me to know that I’m happy here. I didn’t know you could be so happy and sad at the same time. I didn’t know that as you get older you end up collecting stories that you can usually tell with a somber face and a joke or two, but sometimes you tell them with a breaking voice and a fuckload of tears. I didn’t know that you never know which version of the story is about to tumble out of your mouth. I have a friend going through something and when I asked him how he was doing, he replied “I’m handling it,” which is the most appropriate response in the world. It’s all you can do. You can either handle it or you’re a fucking tragic basket case who feels sorry for themselves.
I was asked how I was doing today. “I’m handling it,” I mirrored. And then I started to cry. And I started to think about cemeteries, and how short life is, and I started to wonder how anyone can ever be so mean to other people when life is so fucking short and cruel already. I thought about that Mourning Dove, and how our best efforts yielded nothing.