They're starting to think fibromyalgia is a disorder of the nervous system; that pain is perceived because the brain's perception is hypersensitive. The nerves are so raw that normal stimulation hurts. The state of sensitivity has existed so long that the brain has almost forgotten how to process anything any other way.
Maybe this is what happens after a terrible life change. Life rubs off the protective outer layer of your heart and you walk around raw and wounded, aching at the slightest brush. The Cyclist had his arms all wrapped around me and had fallen into a peaceful sleep but I lay awake, just like that Springsteen song, a freight train running through my head, barreling through the peace I'd felt earlier in the theatre while spooning both the armrest and the handsome boy next to me.
I knew sleep was miles away and so I twisted my body in the other direction, reaching for something to read so I could fill up my thoughts. Occupy my brain. Shut the gates, I don't want to think right now. Close the goddamn dam.
Of course, he woke up when he felt me shift and, thoughtful, sweet soul that he is, sleepily asked if everything was alright. I wanted my happy, secure voice to come out. "Fine," I wanted to say, and mean it. "Go back to sleep, sweetie," I wanted to say. But what came out instead was a squeak that betrayed me, and dammit if even half-asleep he's got that fucking radar that all men seem to have when a woman somewhere within a 50-foot radius is about to cry.
I had been lying there in the dark thinking about how I talk too much about my past, it is still too alive. I haven't put it away yet. I don't know how. But I've been rude, it occurs to me. And oblivious. How could anyone understand how important they are with such shadows looming overhead? Why wasn't I stronger? Why couldn't I move forward?
I didn't know how to share all this and what came out was some version of maybe I'm just broken; my hopeless, pitiful side hungry for air time. He hugged me anyway and said all the right things, his voice soothing, enveloping me in a calm compassion and I laid still, listening, absorbing his words. He brought me back to the present slowly and kindly and soon I was able to drift off to sleep.
But the shadows are still there.
Maybe it's the upcoming anniversary.
Winter reminds me of that time I threw open the door and invited the north wind in to blow the house down. The cold that seeped into my bones then, hollowing them out with a loss that has made it impossible to stand upright since. I chose diminishment because I didn't see any other choice. It's about 4 years ago now but each year, the season seems to sneak up on me in surprise.