We sat in a booth in the back, and we could hear the wait staff bustling around in the kitchen, including the one waitress who sang the same line of a song over and over: "Slip away, slip away, slip ah - way yay yay yay..." After the fourth repetition of the same line, Offspring smiled faintly, chuckled to herself, and looked back down at her handheld game.
We ate our lunch in near silence, only speaking to order and ask for items across the table. Offspring mostly paid attention to her game. The silence stretched out for what seemed like miles in every direction. Around us, people moved and laughed, and the world went on, but we were an island of silence, as life eddied around us.
"Slip away, " I thought. Yes, it all did seem to be slipping away, didn't it? The feeling of control, the feeling of closeness, all of it. Offspring is no longer the little girl who used to cling to me like a barnacle. She hasn't been for years. Oh, I'm proud of her independence, don't mistake me, but it is still nice to be needed, even if only every now and again.
I look at her face, so dear to me, and I wonder how it got like this. So lonely. How did I get so lonely in a crowded restaurant with my own beloved child sitting across from me? The silence is loud now, like a klaxon. It crashes over me, like waves at the beach, tossing me until I no longer know how to break the surface anymore. It's no longer a question of speaking -- I couldn't, even if I had wanted to. I no longer had the strength to speak. To her, to anyone.
I haven't spoken to my best friend in weeks. She hasn't called me, but to be fair, I haven't called her, either. She's busy with her life, and she no longer needs me. She hasn't for quite some time. Her life no longer has room for me. I don't think it's deliberate, but it is saddening. I'm lonely.
The time is slipping away faster and faster, too. Pretty soon, I'll be forty, and I still don't feel as if I've accomplished very much. Back when I was twenty, I though by the time I was forty, I'd have my act together, you know? I'd be a much more successful person, a much *more* person. I don't know what it is that's lacking. Just a vague sensation of "should have". I should have done so much more. I wish I'd tried harder.
I fill up my days by sleeping as late as I possibly can, and then read and watch TV until the early hours to quell the raucous noise in my brain. I haunt the house in the darkened hours, moving endlessly from room to room. The klaxon grinds on, relentlessly.
April is a bad month for me. I always get the blues in April, though it tends to loom later in the month, rather than this early. Late April marks the date of the rape, and I tend to get more maudlin as the day draws closer. I tend to sink into a morass of self-pity and recrimination. I try to focus on the good, rather than the bad. I try to shut down the klaxon, and the deafening silence. I am trying hard to do that now -- trying so hard to hold on and to not just ... slip away.
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